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Full text of "Memorial of the Sprague family: a poem recited at a meeting in Duxbury of the descendants and connections of Hon. Seth Sprague, on the occasion of his eighty-sixth birthday, July 4th, 1846. With the family genealogy and biographical sketches in notes."

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JULY 4th, 1846. 



' Children's children are the crown of old men ; and the glory of children are their fathers." 




^ if 

Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1847, 

By Richard Soule, Jr., 

in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 

printed dy thurston, torry and co. 




Affectionately Xnscrfftetr. 


The poem which follows had its origin in a desire on 
my part to gratify a few friends, by whom I had been 
asked to contribute something towards the entertainment 
of the meeting alluded to in the title-page. It is printed 
at the solicitation of many who heard it recited ; though 
not without an apprehension that the favor, with which 
it was listened to, may have been owing rather to the 
enthusiasm of the occasion than to any intrinsic merit, 
and that, therefore, what seemed to be substance in the 
hearing may turn to shadow in the perusal. 

But that the book may have a value, for those to whom 
it is especially addressed, independent of the poem, I have 
prefixed an account of the meeting which called it forth, 
and have appended, in the form of notes, a genealogical 
history, which has been carefully prepared, and which 
contains, it is believed, all the most important facts that 
can now be learned in regard to the very respectable 
ancestors who bore the name of Sprague, and whose 
descendants are already very numerous and widely scat- 
tered. It has been my aim to put these facts into an ac- 


cessible shape for all the kinsmen of the family now 
living, as well as for those who may succeed. 

As an additional source of interest, I have sought, by 
enlarging somewhat upon incidental topics, to illustrate, 
in a measure, the times in which those ancestors lived, 
and the scenes with which they were familiar. With the 
same view, I have discussed at length a few doubtful and 
disputed points, involved in the treatment of my subject. 
How far I have succeeded in determining the truth on 
such matters, is left for the reader to judge. 

Whether the results of this undertaking prove edifying 
to others or not, it has been to me a very pleasant labor, 
and has brought its own reward. In the performance of 
it I have drawn from various authentic works and docu- 
ments, to which references are made, and have received 
valuable assistance from several individuals to whom my 
grateful acknowledgments are due, and who are more 
particularly mentioned, as opportunity occurs, in the 
sequel. I ought to say here, however, that through the 
courtesy of a friend I obtained access to the rooms of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, where I was kindly 
assisted in my inquiries by the Rev. J. B. Felt, who has 
charge of the valuable library of that association. 

I hope, at least, that this little volume may not be with- 
out interest as a memorial, in some sort, of an occasion 
eminently happy in its immediate enjoyments, and of 
which the blessed influences are not likely soon to be 


The preceding paragraphs had been put in print and 
submitted to me for revision — after the work of the press 
was con.pleted upon the main portion of the volume — 
when I received tidings of an event, which, for many 
days, I had feared it would become my melancholy duty 
to record in this place. 

Hon. Seth Sprague died in Duxbury on the evening 
of the 8th of July instant, four days after the occurrence 
of his eighty-seventh birth-day, and after an illness of 
about five weeks. He visited Boston in May last, as was 
his custom at that season of the year, and attended the 
meetings of the Anti-Slavery Convention. This effort, 
it would seem, was too great for his strength. He re- 
turned home apparently in good health, but in the course 
of a few days was seized with an inflammatory disorder, 
which, though it yielded at length to medical treatment, 
left him so exhausted, that none of the ordinary appliances 
could restore the energies of nature. He lingered in this 
state to the moment of his death, for the most part free 
from pain, and in the full possession of his faculties. 

R. S., Jr. 

Boston, July 10, 1847. 





Account of the Meeting 

Poem ..... 

Note I. Mention of Lines omitted 

Note II. The "Long-missed Wanderer" 

Note III. Hon. Peleg Sprague 

Note IV. Union of two ancestral lines in Hon 

Seth Sprague . . . .26 

Note V. Francis Sprague and his descendants . 27 
Extract from the " N. E. Memorial" in regard to 

passengers in the "Anne " . . .27 

Old and New Style . . . .28 

Residence of Francis Sprague . . .29 

His Character and Standing . . .30 

Son and Daughter of Francis Sprague . . 32 

Old Puritan Taverns . . . .32 

John Sprague J son of Francis . . .33 

John Sprague, grandson of Francis, and his children, 

Ephraim and Benjamin . . . .33 

William Sprague, grandson of Francis, his wife, 
Grace, and their children, Ruth, Zeruiah, Jethro, 
and Terah ..... 33 

Samuel Sprague, grandson of Francis, his wife Ruth 

Alden and their Children . . . .35 

Hon. John Sprague . . . . .36 



A. Wife of John Sprague, son of Francis . . 38 

B. John Sprague, grandson of Francis ; his connection 

with the Church in Duxbury . . .38 

Pastors of that Church, from 1637 to the present time 39 
Genealogies of Rev. Dr. William B. Sprague, of 

Albany, and of Thomas Sprague, Esq. of Detroit 40 

C. Allusions to Grace Sprague, relict of William 

Sprague, in the Duxbury Records . . 44 

Note VI. Captain's Hill in Duxbury . . 45 

Burning of the Duxbury Town and Church Records 46 

View from the Summit of Captain's Hill . . 47 
Forest Trees about Duxbury Bay at the time the Pil- 
grims arrived . . . . .48 

First appearance of the White Pine in Duxbury . 49 

D. Arrival of the Mayflower at Cape Harbor, and expe- 

ditions fitted out from her to explore the coast . 50 
Correct date for the Anniversary of the Landing of 

the Pilgrims at Plymouth . . . .50 

Their Landing in the night at Clark's Island . 51 

Historical Notice of this Island . . .52 

E. Discussion of the question, whether an Island existed 

on the site of Brown's Island Shoal at the time of 
the Landing of the Pilgrims . . .54 

Note VII. Notices of Nathaniel Chandler and Ze- 
RUiAH Sprague, the maternal grandparents of 
Hon. Seth Sprague . . . .58 

F. Extract from Bancroft's History of the United States, 

giving an Account of the Expedition to the Spanish 
West Indies under Admiral Vernon . . 60 

Note VHI. References to the first William Sprague 64 
Note IX. Meaning of the term Sagamore; and 
ACCOUNT of Sagamore John, who welcomed 
the Spragues and other English settlers on 
their arrival at Charlestown . . 64 

Notice of Samuel Maverick, the first settler at Nod- 
dle's Island, now East Boston . . .71 



G. Instructions of the Massachusetts Company to Gov- 
ernor Endicott and his Council, in regard to dealings 
with the Indians ..... 73 

H. Extract from Lewis's History of Lynn, giving an 
Account of the various tribes of Indians in New 
England at the time of the first settlements in this 
region ...... 75 

Note X. Arrival of the Spragues at Charlestown 78 
Biographical Notice of Ralph Sprague . . 82 

Biographical Notice of Richard Sprague . . 84 

Biographical Notice of William Sprague . . 85 

I. Discussion of the question, whether the Spragues 

came over with Endicott . . .88 

J. Will of Edward Sprague, of Upway, England . 97 

K. C\\\\Arexv oi Ralph Sprague . . . 100 

L. Wi\\oii\iefvxsl William Sprague . . .103 

M. Descendants of the first William Sprague, through 

his son Anthony . . . .105 

Note XL Well of the first William Sprague 

ON HiNGHAM Plain . . . .118 

Note XII. Biographical Sketch of Samuel Sprague 

OF Marshfield . . . . .119 

N. Proofs of the identity of Secretary Sprague and 

Samuel Sprague of Marshfield . . . 123 

O. Children of Samuel Sprague of Marshfield . . 125 

Note XIII. Notice of Samuel Sprague, Jr., 
Grandfather of Hon. Seth Sprague — and 
of his brother John and their Children . 126 

P. Uriah Sprague of Duxbury and his Children . 131 

Q. Allusion to John Sprague and his brother Abijah, 
in the Duxbury Records ; and the Locality of 
their Residence . . . . .133 

R. Allusions in the Duxbury Records to the Town's 
Poor, in connection with the names of some mem- 
bers of the Sprague family ; and Notice of Sarah 
McFarland . . . . .133 



S. Historical Account of the Family Mansion in Dux- 
bury ...... 135 

Note XIV. Character of Hon. Seth Sprague's 

Mother . . . . . .138 

Note XV. Obituary Notice of Mrs. Deborah 

Sprague ...... 144 

T. Ancestry of Mrs. Deborah Sprague . . 147 

Note XVI. Record of Dates at "which the de- 
ceased Children of Hon. Seth Sprague 
DIED ...... 149 

Note XVII. Obituary Notices of Mrs. Judith 

Weston ...... 150 

Note XVIII. Biographical Sketch of Hon. Seth 

Sprague . . . . .156 

U. Notice of the Celebration in Duxbury on the occa- 
sion of opening the Bridge over Blue-fish River 179 
Amusing Contemporary Account of Incidents con- 
nected with the erection of that Bridge . .180 

V. Letter of Captain Collier to the Selectmen and the 
Committee of Safety of the Town of Duxbury ; 
and Historical Account of the Captures of Fish- 
ing Vessels, belonging to Duxbury, by the Eng- 
lish, during the war of 1812 . . .182 

W. Names and Dates of Birth of Hon. Seth Sprague'' s 

Children . . . . . .191 




*' Bless, then, the meeting and the spot ; 
For once be every care forgot ; 
Let gentle Peace assert her power, 
And kind Affection rule the hour." 

The gathering of the Sprague family in Duxbury, 
on the 4th of July last, was suggested by the happy 
results of a similar meeting which took place at the 
old homestead on the 22d of August, 1845, and of 
which an interesting notice was published in the 
Boston Courier of the 28th of that month.* This 
first meeting was hastily planned, and, in fact, was 
mainly designed to bring together only those of the 
family who happened to be in Duxbury at the time. 
It proved to be so delightful, that a very general 
desire was expressed that the experiment should be 
repeated the next year, with a somewhat louder note 

* The notice referred to was from the pen of John Owen, Esq. 


of preparation, and with the view to gather into the 
paternal fold all the wanderers of the flock. Accord- 
ingly, it was determined that a second and more 
general meeting should take place on the 4th of July 
following. This day was selected chiefly hecause it 
was the birth-day of the venerable patriarch of the 
family, but with some reference also to the conven- 
ience of those whose business might claim their at- 
tention at other seasons. 

The meeting was anticipated with great interest 
by all the relatives. Distance of residence seemed 
no obstacle to any of them. The valley of Rock 
River in Illinois was to send its representatives, as 
well as the neighboring town or the next street. As 
the time drew near, the faces of the filial pilgrims 
were turned towards the shrine of their affections. 
And on the night preceding the festival, the hospi- 
tality of friends was liberally exercised in the accom- 
modation of guests, who had come to participate in 
the long-expected enjoyments of the morrow. When 
the morning of that day dawned, it seemed as if the 
sun never shone with more genial benignity, and as 
if the air was never purer or more refreshing. It 
Was the welcome return of the Nation's birth-day 
and annual jubilee, and for these assembled kins- 
men, it was to be also a season of filial reverence and 
congratulation, — of friendly rejoicing and thanks- 

The family mansion had been enlarged for the 
reception of the company, and in order to give room 
for the tables, by the erection of a large tent of can- 


vass, which extended from the roof of the house, 
and quite covered the area of the front yard. When, 
about noon, the relatives began to throng to the spot, 
all the doors in the lower part of the mansion were 
thrown open, so that there might be free range from 
one apartment to another, including the pavilion in 
front. Within this ample space a most agreeable hour 
was spent in mutual greetings and inquiries. Kinsmen 
long severed had met once more, and some in the 
younger ranks had now met each other and their elders 
for the first time. The first to receive salutation and 
the foremost to extend greeting and welcome, was 
the venerable head of the household — old in years 
but young in feeling — in whom the scene awakened, 
doubtless, a conflict of emotions, but whose evident 
satisfaction increased the happiness of all the rest. 

The signal for dinner soon dispersed the little 
groups that were scattered in various places in and 
about the house, and brought all the company to- 
gether under the canopy of the tent. The tables, 
which extended in three parallel lines quite across 
this enclosure, were tastefully laid, and liberally 
spread with a variety of dishes contributed by the 
guests themselves. In the centre of the first line, 
and immediately opposite the front door of the house, 
was placed the old family table, very large, and of 
circular shape. Around this were gathered the aged 
father and his children, as they had often been gath- 
ered in times past. On his right sat his eldest son, 
Hon. Phineas Sprague, and on his left, Hon. Seth 
Sprague, Jr., his second son; the wife of each sitting 


at his side. Next on the left sat his youngest son, 
Hon. Peleg Sprague, and wife. The circle was com- 
pleted by four of the daughters and their husbands, 
with another daughter, who is a widow. At the 
other tables were seated, but not in precise order, the 
grandchildren with their husbands and wives, and 
the great-grandchildren ; the whole company num- 
bering one hundred and sixteen. If all the surviving 
members of each separate family had been present 
— meaning thereby the descendants of Hon. Seth 
Sprague's fifteen children, and those connected with 
them by marriage — the number would have amount- 
ed to one hundred and eighty-eight.^ 

Perfect silence prevailed while the patriarch in- 
voked a blessing on the flock gathered within his 
fold and on the food spread before them. The next 
hour was one of innocent mirth and temperate fes- 
tivity for all. 

" Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, 
Not burdened nature," 

it was proposed that another interval should be al- 
lowed for diversion and exercise by wandering at will^ 
through the mansion and about the gromids of the 
homestead. Some who had been long separated em- 
braced the opportunity to seek a quiet corner for con- 
versation. Many repaired to the orchard on the north 

* This appears from a Register — wherein the names of those 
present at the meeting from each family were entered, as also of 
those who were absent or deceased. 


of the house for its refreshing shade and coohiess. The 
children of the party, especially, made this the scene 
of their sports. Some hay had been nicely stacked 
in one ,corner of the orchard, upon which they has- 
tened to lay their mischievous fingers, pulling it to 
pieces to pelt each other, and strewing it broad-cast 
on its native bed. This was not done, however, 
without a hint that there would be no harm in it, on 
the part of some of their elders, who were looking 
on, and who 

* * # * u SmiietJ i\iQ hour away, 

Won by the charm of innocence at play." 

Grandfather, in the mean time, with a considerate 
regard for an elderly female friend,* — and an old 
acquaintance of the family — had gone in his car- 
riage to convey her to the spot, that she might parti- 
cipate in what remained of the enjoyments of the 
day. The appearance of the carriage, on its return, 
in the lane leading to the house from the main road, 
was the signal for another rendezvous beneath the 
folds of the pavilion. Seated here again the guests 
awaited the second, and, as it doubtless proved to 
many, the most interesting part of the entertainment. 

This was commenced by singing, in the tune of 
" Coronation,''^ with great spirit and effect, f the fol- 

* Miss Sophia Bradford. 

f The singing in this instance, and at the close of the day, was 
conducted by a gentleman and two ladies, not connected with the 
Sprague family, to whom the relatives are greatly indebted for 
their kindness in consenting to perform this service, and for the 
very acceptable manner in which their aid was rendered. 


lowing lines, Avritten for the occasion by Henry Win- 
sor, a grandson of the patriarch. 


On this the Patriarch's natal day, 

Once more his children come ; — 
Their children's children bound and shout 

Around his ancient home, 
To cheer him, time-worn, hoary man, 

Whose eye will soon be dim. 
Whose feeble ear now wakes again 

To this our social hymn. 

With blessings greet him ; his brave heart 

Still holds him on his way ; 
Untiring, toiling, striving, he 

Has known no idle day : 
No idle day in all his life. 

But, battling for the right; 
Whatever his hand could find to do, 

He did it with his might. 

Among us some are growing gray, 

And some are in life's prime, 
And some, with youthful promise, come 

To keep the holy time ; 
In all there beats some pulse of him 

Whose pulses now are low 
And long, when he hath passed away, 

This stream of life shall flow. 


Low be the strain ; the parent spring 

Is ebbing to its sand ; 
'T is homeward bound to Him who holds 

The Ocean in his hand. 
But louder swell the choral song, 

For lo ! a cheering sight, — 
Through hundred gushing springlet heads. 

It comes again to light. 

After this prelude all eyes were turned towards 
the venerable man in the centre of the group, who 
requested that his children of every degree should 
hear what he had to say. Laying on the table a 
manuscript, he read therefrom, in a full voice and 
with much animation, a brief sketch of the family 
genealogy, interspersed with anecdotes of ancestors 
and of past times. This was listened to by young 
and old with the deepest attention. While it was 
interesting as a narrative, it was highly impressive 
by the lessons of wisdom which it taught. 

Next in order came the recitation of the poem 
which forms a part of this volume. 

To this succeeded an address by a son-in-law of 
the patriarch, William Sampson, Esq., who had 
come up with his wife to the family jubilee, from the 
borders of Rock River in Illinois. He was led from 
this circumstance to contrast the peculiarities of his 
adopted State with those features which distinguish 
New England. Of the former he spoke in terms 
of high admiration, but with no desire to disparage 
the land of his birth, and the dwelling-place of most 
of his friends. 


The hours of the day had now so far advanced, 
that another dispersion was suggested to give oppor- 
tunity for the preparation of the evening meal. 
This, however, occasioned only a brief delay ; and 
in the course of half an hour, all had returned to 
the tables to take tea. Luxuries of various kinds, 
from the larders of the several households there rep- 
resented, were as gratefully partaken of as they had 
been bountifully supplied. And the social ease and 
exhilaration that prevailed seemed to increase as the 
day declined. 

In the mean time the assembly was fast increasing 
by the arrival of several friends, not related to the 
family, who had been attracted to the spot by their 
generous sympathy with the sentiments and affec- 
tions by which so many kinsmen had been drawn 

The announcement that Hon. Peleg Sprague was 
about to address them, soon imposed silence upon the 
merry talkers, and arrested the attention of all. It 
is to be regretted that his words found no record but 
in the memories of those who listened; for, though 
the impression of what he uttered abides, no magic 
of recollection can restore the beauty of the language 
that conveyed it. Especially is this true of the 
eulogy he pronounced on his late-lost and lamented 

* While Hon. Peleg Sprague was speaking, an old cradle 
was brought out of the house and placed in a conspicuous posi- 
tion in the tent. He stated that this was the most venerable, if 


The voice of Hon. Seth Sprague, Jr., was the next 
to win the ears of the company, while he alluded 
briefly, but with much feeling, to the impressions 
made upon his own mind by the events of the day, 
and to the lasting influences for good which they 
would be likely to have upon all present. His re- 
marks were abridged by the lateness of the hour ; 
for the lengthening shadows now gave warning that 
the moment of separation was at hand. 

Some of the sentiments awakened at that parting 
moment — the satisfaction of fraternal hearts in the 
performance of filial duty, and the melancholy pleas- 
ure of the retrospect, blended with cheering hopes of 
the future — these are well expressed in the following 
lines,* the singing of which in the tune of " Old 
Hundred^'''' by the whole company, standing, was the 
final incident of the family meeting. 


'T is writ upon that sacred page, 
Transmitted from the Mount of Fire ; 
There is no better pilgrimage 
Than that of children to their sire. 

indeed it was not the only heir-loom of the family, hs precise 
age was not known ; but it was very old, for it had belonged to 
the ancestors of his mother, who was herself rocked in it as well 
as all her children. It was now, he said, his property, having 
been presented to him by his father. 
* By the author of " The Meeting." 


The circle formed must break again, 
How brief has been this social hour ! 
But kindly acts are never vain, 
And truthful vvords have lasting power. 

Remembered long or soon forgot. 
These words and acts shall still remain ; 
Time's seed-field holds them, seen or not. 
And they shall spring to life again. 

To keep our hearts be all our care ; 
None can the ways of God foretell, 
But each may breathe this parting prayer - 
A short and earnest one ; Fare-well. 

P E M 


Pray tell me friends, what task is quite imblest. 
If not to woo the Muses — by request 7 
Needs any yet to learn, they never deign 
To favor suit reluctant, urged with pain ? 
That the Pierian maids are much the same 
As other maids, who scorn a lukewarm flame ? 
" Unbidden let thy numbers flow," they say, 
" Or we are heedless of the vows ye pay." 

Enough of this ; my verse itself will teach, 
In every line, the doctrine that I preach. 
Yet, as the housewife, whom her guests surprise 
Intently busy o'er her weekly pies. 
Pleads for defects — observed by them or not — 
Her oven was too small and scarcely hot ; 



So let me say for your indulgence' sake — 
For poets' crudities need time to bake — 
June's waning moon scarce saw my work begun, 
And only yester-eve pronounced it done. i. 

When children to the ancestral mansion turn, — 
That dear retreat where best affections burn — 
Where puddings, pies, and all good things abound, 
As Christmas or Thanksgiving day comes round ; 
'Tis hard to say which most attracts them there, 
Respectful love, or love of bounteous fare. 
But no such naughty doubts need us perplex. 
Nor grandpa's stores the groaning tables vex ; 
For we, to cheer his heart with mirth and song. 
Have come, and brought our frugal meal along. 

Children we are of every size and age ; 
Some in life's spring, some in its latest stage. 
Here sons and daughters round the Patriarch's chair 
Meet children's sons and daughters, many a pair; 
On their own heads their father's blessing call, 
While theirs on two successive lines may fall. 
Thrice happy sire ! that Heaven should grant to thee 
Its largest boon of goodly progeny : 
And still more rarely blest that, soon or late. 
Each child of thine should find a fitting mate. 
To such unwonted chance, to-day is due. 
So great a host comes up to welcome you. 


From far and near. New England's vallies o'er, 
To this loved shrine the fihal pilgrims pour. 
Nay here to-day our joyful eyes behold 
One long-missed wanderer from her father's fold, ii 
Who leaves a home the western hills beside, 
Where Mississippi rolls his giant tide. 

Named with delights that on our gathering wait, 
No care is pressing and no business great ; 
The farmer's weeds that so perversely grow, 
Find for a time a respite from the hoe : 
The merchant shuts his books, all toil gives o'er, 
To visit home and be a boy once more : 
Even long-robed Justice must herself defer 
To one who fervently hath worshipped her, iii 
That he, too, for a transient hour, may share 
The draught inspiring of this hallowed air. 

Hallowed indeed ! not only they are here, 
Who, thronging, present to the eye appear; 
But other friends, passed on before to bliss. 
Return approving to a scene like this : 
And while around us their transfigured forms 
Are hovering, and every memory warms 
With the airy traces on its tablets seen. 
Of what their brief-spent lives on earth have been ,- 
Let Fancy frame a spell, that shall restore 
In clearer lines the image that they wore. 

As when two streams, from one sequestered source. 
Apart pursue a long and devious course ; 


Then join their rich and swollen tides in one, 
Through many a gladdened plain and vale to run ; 
So, Patriarch, two branches from thy ancestry 
With like commingled wealth unite in thee. iv. 

He of thy name, who, from the Father-land, 
First sought these shores, was of the Pilgrim band : v 
One of those few, brave and true-hearted souls. 
Whose fame is wafted far as ocean rolls. 
Beside yon height, along this wood-girt bay. 
The exile's axe is heard at opening day : vi 
While from his cabin curls the smoky wreath. 
And tender wife prepares the meal beneath. 
At length, before his stroke the forest yields ; 
And in its place spread out the smiling fields. 
Heaven grants a son to turn the stubborn soil. 
And daughters rise to ease the mother's toil. 
So blessed the pilgrim's days serene declined : 
He died ; and left an honored name behind — 
A name not tarnished as it travelled through 
From son to son, from daughter down to you. 
That daughter ! here my meagre strain obeys 
A pious wish, and for a moment stays, vii 

Her youth was happy, though her lot was low ; 
She knew no luxury nor cared to know. 
The bread of industry inured to eat, 
Each crumb was blest and every morsel sweet. 
Her charms of feature and her grace of life, 
Soon winning love, adorned her more — a v/ife. 
In passing years — long years of happiness — 



Seven maidens fair rise up to aid and bless. 

The father leaves this happy home to sail 

Where Cuba's balm floats on the tropic gale. 

Ah ! siren fragrance ; for its flattering breath 

To him conveyed the barbed shaft of death ! 

And while the anxious eye, day after day, 

Looks for the wanderer on his homeward way ; 

The tidings speed on the careering keel, 

That with the lightning's shock, shall soon reveal 

To that loved wife and fondly cherished brood, 

Their orphan doom and her sad widowhood. 

Angel of Faith ! thy charm be potent here 

To heal the wound and dry the bitter tear. 

That charm availed ; hers was the Christian's trust, 

That sees the dead spring living from the dust. 

She taught the orphans, that — their parent gone — 

A Father's care was not from them withdrawn ; 

That — duty done and every work performed — 

The hungry should be fed, the naked warmed. 

And you, our venerated Sire, whom she 

Her grandchild called, as you were proud to be ; 

You oft have seen, with how much patient cheer 

She bore her lonely lot from year to year : 

Have heard the shuttle's quick-returning stroke. 

The distaff humming and the thread that broke. 

As she and maidens plied their daily task, 

And you stood by to listen and to ask. 

One of that orphaned household had before 
To a new home transferred the precious lore — 
So aptly by a mother' practice taught, 


So meekly learned, with so much blessing fraught — 
'Twas she who gave thee birth, who nursed thy youth, 
Thy mother, and thy early guide to truth. 

Here pause ; before we touch that pleasing theme, 
Turn we once more to trace the ancestral stream. 

Another of thy house — so may we call 
The name, though no escutcheon decks the wall — viii 
A later exile, found the friendly shore. 
Where dwelt in peace the gentle Sagamore, ix 
The stranger was the youngest in a triple band, 
That parting sad from Albion's southern strand, 
Thrice must repeat the long and last farewell. 
As fade the scenes where home's loved inmates 

dwell. X 
O, bid them forth, ye three that lonely stay ; 
They bear rich treasure to a future day ! 
Ours is the joy — so have good angels willed — 
To sing and see the prophecy fulfilled. 

The brothers were for worth and zeal renowned ; 
In every Christian work the foremost found ; 
The Church has on its records high emblazed 
What debt it owes them, and has nobly praised ; 
The State, too, claimed their oft-bespoken aid, 
And to their names has well-earned homage paid : 
Ralph, Richard, WiUiam — these were names revered 
Wherever known, and to all hearts endeared. 

Go, sit thou by the crystal well, whence he. 


Our ancestor — last of the honored three — 

On Hingham's Plain, drew forth the frequent 

draught, xi 
When thou its cooling wave hast duly quaffed ; 
Far down the fountain's tortuous wall, — 
Whose time-soiled stones seem trembling ere they 

fall — 
See how its tranquil depth the pebble shows, 
And mossy wreath that on its pavement grows ! 
So, through the vanished years when Age looks back, 
Life's quiet morning boimds the rugged track. 

The name, transmitted in succeeding years. 
Ever with wonted lustre re-appears ; 
Now on yon shores a full-orbed light it yields, — 
So fitly titled from their marshy fields — xii 
Now blends with kindred beams, where they are 

In steady radiance on this Pilgrim ground, xiii 
Or, as the twin-like streams our opening strain 
Supposed to part, then meet in one again ; 
So may we here two kindred stocks unite, 
Disparted long, now one by marriage rite. 

Once more the vision, that we faintly saw 
Approaching slow and then apace withdraw, 
Re-dawns upon our long-awaiting sight, 
In airy vestments clad and heavenly light, xiv 
Thou dear seraphic shade ! so pure thou wert. 
We almost fear to do thee cruel hurt. 
If we but breathe, in our untutored lay. 


The meed of praise our tongue would gladly pay. 
Yetj when we think how much thy spirit grieved 
To see the smallest want go unrelieved ; 
Assurance springs that thou wilt not refuse, 
For those who live, the offering of the Muse. 

If they could speak, who walked with her in life 
As friends and neighbors, partners in its strife ; 
How would their lips, in emulous discourse, 
The glowing homage of their hearts enforce. 
With what delight the generous deeds proclaim. 
That wreathe their halo round her sainted name ; 
The eager, sympathetic aid she lent, 
Where sickness bound, or other burthen bent ; — 
Her soothing speech, when sorrow wrung the breast, 
That brought relief and proved the stricken blest. 
But here are living witnesses to tell 
The love they bore, who knew her Avorth so well. 
See in our midst, with hoary brow and sage. 
Her last born son and guardian of her age ; 
Ask him the story of her life, and say 
If woman's steps e'er found a better way ; 
Mark how she blended dignity and grace, — 
Man's strength with virtues of the gentler race ; 
How thoughtful of each word and action's aim ! 
How prompt in action when the moment came ! 
And you — her off*spring in the next degree — 
How do you chide the poet's minstrelsy. 
That fails to sound that dear familiar word, 
And seems untuned till Grandma^ s name is heard. 
His lyre, abashed, would fain suspend its tone, 


To hear the melting pathos of your own : 
You saw her smile upon your childish plays. 
And shared her counsel in your riper days : 
When any trouble crossed, or doubt perplexed, — 
Were it a great or little thing that vexed, — 
Who could so well as she the grief allay ? 
Who fitter words or more convincing say? 
In your best moments, when the heart o'erflows 
In praise to Him from whom your being rose; 
When thanks spontaneous crowd upon the tongue ; 
And grateful memories o'er the past are flung : — 
If tribute pours for any earthly guide. 
That walked an Angel ever at your side; 
After a Mother's form before you brought. 
Whose rises next responding to the thought 1 
'-'■ 'T is hers," — your ready lips at once aver, — 
'"T is Grandma's self, whom could we name but 

The minstrel's hand has swept another string, 
That echoes tones he would that you might sing; 
For only they may fitly chant the song. 
Who lately lost a Mother loved so long, xv 
And yet, the dear remembrance so awakes 
Delightful thoughts, which he with you partakes ; 
He dares to murmur in a faltering note. 
An artless line that true affection wrote. 

Her full-spanned life in one smooth current ran. 
And sinless closed as when its race began : 
Mild as the breeze that scarce reveals its course. 


" Next to the sense of religious duty and moral feeling, I hardly 
know what should bear with stronger obligation on a liberal and 
enlightened mind, than a consciousness of alliance with excellence 
which is departed." 

Webster's Discourse at Plymouth. 

" What satisfaction would it be to me, to hear any one thus 
describe to me the manners, faces, behavior, the most ordinary 
words and fortunes of my ancestors ! How attentively should I 
listen to it ! Truly, it would denote a bad nature to despise even 
the portraits of our friends and predecessors, the fashion of their 
garments and of their arms. I carefully preserve a scrap of 
writing, a seal, a prayer-book, a particular sword, that have been 
theirs ; and I have not removed from my closet the long staves 
which my father used to carry in his hand." 

Montaigne's Essays, Book ii. Chap, xviii. 


NOTE I. Page 14. 

A FEW of the introductory lines of the poem, as 
recitecl, have been omitted; for the reason that they 
contained allusions which would be likely to be of 
only temporary interest, and which might have been 
obscure without such explanations as it would hard- 
ly have been fair to put in the form of a permanent 

NOTE 11. Page 15. 

Nay, here to-day our joyful eyes behold 

One long-missed wanderer from her father's fold. 

The wife of William Sampson, Esq., who removed 

from Duxbury to Illinois in September, 1834, and is 

now a resident of Como, on Rock River, not far from 

its junction with the Mississippi. The presence of 



this daughter and her husband at the family meet- 
ing, after so long an absence, and the cordial greetings 
that were extended to them on every side, contributed 
greatly to the interest of the occasion. 

NOTE III. Page 15. 

Even long-robed Justice must herself defer 
To one who fervently hath worshipped her. 

Hon. Peleg Sprague, formerly Representative and 
Senator in Congress from Maine, now United States 
District Judge for the District of Massachusetts. 

NOTE IV. Page 16. 

So, Patriarch, two branches from thy ancestry 
With like commingled wealth unite in thee. 

Hon. Seth Sprague is descended on both sides from 
ancestors who bore the name of Sprague : on his 
mother's side from Francis Sprague — one of the 
Plymouth Pilgrims — who is the subject of the next 
note : and on his father's side from William Sprague, 
one of three brothers who settled at Charlestown in 

* See Note X. 


I can find no evidence that these ancestors were 
related ; but there is a strong probabiUty that they 
sprang from the same stock. 

NOTE V. Page 16. 

He of thy name, who, from the Fatherland, 

First sought these shores, was of the Pilgrim hand. 

The maternal ancestor of Hon. Seth Sprague, as 
already stated, was Francis Sprague ; who arrived 
at Plymouth, in the ship Anne, July, 1623.* He 
was one of those "passengers,"! who, as Morton 
writes,J " seeing the low and poor condition of those 
that were before them, were much daunted and 
dismayed, and, according to their divers humors, 
were diversely affected. Some wished themselves in 
England again ; others fell on weeping, fancying their 
own misery in what they saw in others ; other some 
pitying the distress they saw their friends had been 
long in, and still were under. In a word, all were 
full of sadness ; only some of their old friends rejoiced 

* Old Colony Kecords. Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, 
p. 352. Mr. Young says, " Those who came in the first three 
ships, the Mayflower, the Fortune, and the Anne, are distinctively 
called the " old comers, or the forefathers.'''' 

f Reference is made to those who arrived in the " Anne," and 
the " James," the former of which vessels preceded the latter by 
about ten days. 

I New England's Memorial, Davis's edition, p. 102. 


to see them, and that it was no worse with them, for 
they could not expect it should be better, and now 
hoped they should enjoy better days together. And 
truly it was no marvel they should be thus affected, 
for they were in a very low condition, both in respect 
of food and clothing at that time." And Governor 
Bradford, in allusion to these same " passengers," 
says : " The best dish we could present them with, 
is a lobster, or a piece of fish, without bread, or any 
thing else but a cup of fair spring water; and the 
long continuance of this diet, with our labors abroad, 
has somewhat abated the freshness of our complex- 
ion; but God gives us health."* 

It appears from the Records of the Colony Court, 
that Francis Sprague was not admitted a freeman of 
the Colony until June 7th, 1637.-t- The probabiUty 

* See New England's Memorial, Davis's edition, p 103, and 
Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 353. 

f I have given this date, and all others previous to 1752, so far 
as respects the days, according to the Old Style. To reduce the 
day in a date of Old Style to the corresponding day of New Style, 
we have only to add ten days, if the date is previous to 1700, and 
eleven days, if it is between 1700, and October, 1752, when the 
New Style w^as adopted in England and her Colonies by act of 
Parliament. Thus, the date in the text v/ould correspond to 
June 17th, 1637, New Style. Previous to October, 1752, the 
year, according to the English mode of reckoning, began on the 
25th of March, which w^as counted as the first month. But the 
New Style, by whicli the year began on the 1st of January, had 
been used in Catholic countries ever since 1582. Hence, before 
the passage of the act referred to, it became a custom in England 



is, that he was under age at the time of his arrival. 
He settled in Duxbury before June, 1637, the earliest 
date at which he is mentioned in the Colony Records 
as being an inhabitant of that town. Nothing is 
known in regard to the locahty of his residence, 
except that it was somewhere on the shore between 
Captain's Hill^ and Blue-fish River. In an inter- 
esting paper, by the late Alden Bradford, entitled, 
" Notes on Duxbury,'" and published in the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Collections,'^ it is stated — as a 
matter of record — that "a pathway was early laid 
out from Plymouth, over Jones's River, and crossing 
Island Creek, wound along near the shore of the bay 
to accommodate Standish, Brewster, Sprague and 
others in the south and east part of the town, and 
then led over Blue River, near the head of the salt 
water, and, passing John Alden's settlement on the 
north side of this river, was continued over Stony 

and her dependencies, to indicate the year by double figures in 
all dates occurring between January 1st, and the 25th of March. 
Thus by February 7th, 1697 — 8, is to be understood February 
7th, 1697, taking the 25th of March as the beginning of the year, 
or February 7th, 1698, if the year commences with the 1st of 
January. In all the dates of this volume the year is made to 
correspond with New Style ; but the day, in dates prior to 1752, 
is given according to the Old Style. See Quarterly Register, 
vol. xiv., p. 254. See also a lucid note in Rev. W. I. Buding- 
ton's excellent History of the First Church of Charlestown, pp. 

* See Note VI. 

f Vol. X., second series. 



Brook, near Philip Delano, who had just begun a 
farm there, by Duck Hill, to Careswell, the residence 
of Governor Winslow." 

Standish and Brewster, it is well known, resided 
on the south-eastern side of the peninsula, now called 
" the Nook," of which Captain's Hill forms a part. 
But whether Sj^rague^ who is named with them in 
this extract, is to be classed with those who dwelt 
in the south, or with those living in the east part of 
the town, does not clearly appear. It is most prob- 
able, however, that as the names of Standish and 
Brewster must have been intended to represent the 
first locality, that of Sprague was introduced as rep- 
resenting the last. 

According to the writer just quoted, Francis 
Sprague was a man of influence and property for 
the times in which he lived. Some idea may be 
formed of his comparative standing in point of pro- 
perty from the annexed list of taxes assessed in 1633 
on some individuals of the Colony, who either at 
that time or subsequently were inhabitants of Dux- 

£. s. £. 5, 

Miles Standish, 1 16. JohnHowland, 1 4. 

William Brewster, 1 7. Francis Sprague, 18. 

John Alden, 1 4. Philip Delanoy, 18, 

William Collier, 2 5. William Bassett, 1 17. 

Jonathan Brewster, 1 7. George Soule, 09.* 

It seems that the Puritans had one mode of signal- 
izing a man's merit, which would be taken as rather 

* Court Records. 


equivocal testimony if it were applied, in the same 
sense, to any person in New England at the present 
time. The historian, last quoted,* infers that Mr. 
Sprague was a ''grave and sober person," because 
he was permitted to "sell spirituous liquors; " "for," 
says he, " it was only the more sober and grave 
persons who were licensed for this purpose." 

And yet it appears that grave and sober though 
he was, he did not wholly escape the displeasure of 
the scrupulous magistrates of those days. The Court 
Records disclose the fact that he was several times 
brought before them for what they considered depar- 
tures from the strict line of duty. But there is 
nothing to show, that, according to the more liberal 
modern standard of estimating the characters of men, 
he might not have been a person of worth and great 
respectability. A fair interpretation, however, of the 
evidence, drawn from the Old Colony Records, war- 
rants the conclusion that Francis Sprague was a 
person of ardent temperament and of great indepen- 
dence of mind ; in short, that his sympathies with 
the principles of the Puritan Fathers did not go to 
the length of a passive acquiescence in all the enact- 
ments of their civil code. 

He was living in Duxbury as late as 1666,f after 
which date his name does not appear in the Records. 
From this circumstance, taken in connection with 
the fact that his son John succeeded to his business 

* Notes on Duxbury, before cited, 
f Court Records. 


of "keeping an Ordinary "=^ at Duxbury in 1660, it 
may be inferred that his death took place between 
these dates. The name of his wife I have not been 
able to ascertain : no allusion is any where made to 
her. They had one son, John, and three daughters, 
Anna, Mary and Mercy. The latter married William 
Tubbs, November 9th, 1637.f From two entries % 

* " Josselyn, in his Voyages, mentions calling (1638) at ' one 
Long's Ordinary ' : and writes of these old Puritan taverns as 
though he was annoyed by the strict surveillance to which they 
were subjected. ' If a stranger went in, he was presently fol- 
lowed by one appointed to that office, who would thrust himself 
into his company uninvited, and if he called for more drink than 
the officer thought in his judgment he could soberly bear away, 
he would presently countermand it, and appoint the proportion 
beyond which he could not get a drop.' Besides : mine host 
could permit no tobacco to be used about his premises, no cards 
to be shuffled, no dice to be thrown. And if he took more than 
six-pence for a meal or a penny ' for an ale quart of beer out of 
meal times,' or sold cakes or bunns, except for marriages or 
burials, or like special occasions, the penalty to which he was 
liable was ten shillings. But by paying a round sum into the 
colonial treasury, he was allowed to ' sell wine and strong water 

made in the country.' " 

Frothingham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 96. 

I Old Colony Records. 

% The entries are, the first literally, and the second in sub- 
stance — as follows : 

1. 164 4. " Robert Lawrence was admitted to be an inhabitant 
of this town, provided his father-in-law, Sprague, be willing he 
should seat on lands formerly granted to him." 

2. 1649. Reference is made to a former grant of land by the 
Colony to Francis Sprague. 

A Robert Lawrence, who might have been the same as R. L., 


in the Marshfield Records, it would seem that one of 
the other daughters married Robert Lawrence of that 

Johiiy the only son of Francis Sprague, married 
Ruth Bassett in 1655,* and died at Duxbury in 
1676. f They resided for a time in Marshfield ; as 
the birth of one of their children is noted in the 
Records of that town in 1659. They had three sons, 
John, William, and Samuel; and four daughters, 
Eliza, Ruth, born in Marshfield, February 12th, 
1659, Desire and Dorcas. The latter married Joseph 
Hatch, of Falmouth, January 10th, 1713.$ 

John^ son of John, and grandson of Francis, was 
constable of Duxbury in 1692, and held other public 
trusts there at various times from 1684 to 1701. His 
wife's Christian name was Lydia, and, according to 
the Duxbury Records, they had two sons, Ephraim^ 
born March 15th, 1685, and Benjamin^ born July 
15th, 1686.§ 

Willia/tn, son of John, and grandson of Francis, 

above named, was one of the Trustees of Falmouth, Maine, in 
1684, and died at Fort Royal from a mortal wound in 1690. 
[MS. letter of Miss Marcia A. Thomas, of Marshfield, to whom 
I am indebted for other facts in regard to the history of families 
in that neighborhood.] 

* See under A. 

f MS, notes of the late Samuel Davis, kindly loaned to me by 
his brother, Isaac P. Davis, Esq. 

J Duxbury Records. 

§ See under B. 


died at Duxbury in 1712, leaving a widow, whose 
Christian name was Grace,* and four children. He 
is only once named as an incumbent of a town office. 
He was chosen surveyor of highways, March 17th, 
1708. The names of his children and the dates of 
their birth are thus stated in the Records : — 

Ruth, born February 22d, 1702. 
Zeruiah, '' December 10th, 1701. 
Jethro, '' November 30th, 1709. 
Terah, '' February 17th, 1712. 

Ruth married Samuel Kein, April 19th, 1719. 

Zeruiah married Nathaniel Chandler, March 19th, 
1724. Her husband died in 1741, f leaving her a 
widow with seven daughters, one of whom, Mercy, 
was the mother of Hon. Seth Sprague. J 

Jethro married Patience Bartlett, December 12th, 
1738. She died in May, 1741. Subsequently, he 
married Bethia Sprague — daughter of Samuel, and 
aunt of Hon. Seth Sprague — and removed to Ken- 
nebec, Maine, after 1760; under which date he is 
mentioned in the Duxbury Records for the last time, 
as having been drawn to serve on the petty and 
grand juries at the Plymouth Court. March 20th, 
1748, he was chosen constable of Duxbury, but de- 

* See under C. 

t See Note VIL, and under F. 

X See Note VII. 


clined to serve. He had two children by his first 
wife, a daughter Silvina, and a son Wilham.* 

Respecting Terah nothing further is recorded. 

Samuel, son of John, and grandson of Francis, 
was married to Ruth Alden, November 29th, 1694. 
They had six children, three sons and three daugh- 
ters, whose names and the dates of whose birth, as 
stated in the Records, are as follow : — 

Noah, born January 18th, 1696. 

Elizabeth, '' July 4th, 1699. 

Nathaniel, '' January 10th, 1702. 

Samuel, " June 23d, 1704. 

Mary '' December 20th, 1706. [Died, 

April 19th, 1708.] 

Priscilla, born March 18th, 1709. 

This Samuel Sprague, son of John, and grandson 
of Francis, was chosen constable of Duxbury, March 
6th, 1700, and town clerk, March 16th, 1709, which 
latter post he held for one year only. In 1710 he is 

* The dates of their hirth are given in the Records with re- 
markable precision, as follows : 

" Silvina Sprague ye daughter of Jethro Sprague and Patience 
his wife was born October 8th, 1739, about twelve of ye clock in 
ye day." 

" William Sprague ye son of Jethro Sprague and Patience his 
wife was born November ye 19th, 1740, about twelve of ye clock 
in ye night." 

See a fac-simile of Jethro Sprague's autograph in Fig. 8, taken 
from his signature as witness to a deed, which is dated March 
28th, 1748. 



Styled Lieutenant^ though this title is not again ap- 
plied to him. It is uncertain whether he acted in 
any public capacity after 1710 ; the name not occur- 
ring again in the Records in comiection with town 
offices until 1729, from which year to 1742 it occurs 
very frequently ; but under circumstances which 
leave room for doubt whether the grandson of Fran- 
cis Sprague is intended, or Samuel Sprague, son of 
Samuel of Marshfield, who removed from that town 
to Duxbury about 1709.* The name, however, 
must have been meant to apply to the latter, if, as 
Judge Mitchell states,f Samuel, the grandson of 
Francis, "removed to Rochester and died there in 
1723, leaving a widow Elizabeth, a son Ephraim, 
and perhaps others." But if this statement is cor- 
rect, he must have left Duxbury after 1710, and the 
widow referred to must have been his second wife.J 

* See Note XIII. 

f History of Bridgewater. 

X I find in the Biographical Notices of Distinguished Men in 
New England, by tlie late Alden Bradford, the following account 
of Hon. John Sprague : 

" He was born in Rochester, County of Plymouth, and was 
graduated at Harvard College-, with the class of 1765, with the 
character of a good scholar. He studied law, and soon settled in 
the county of Worcester. In law, as a science, he was a great 
proficient, and his practice was extensive. He did not rank 
among the ardent and decided whigs of 1775 ; but when the 
Justices of the Court in Worcester County, and the gentlemen of 
the bar, were requested by the County Convention, sitting there 
in September, 1774, to suspend all legal proceedings, until there 


According to the following copy of a receipt in the 
Town Records, it would seem that his trade was that 
of a carpenter : 

" Reckoned with ye town agents Feby ye 25th anno 
1707. Then reed, of said agents the sum of one 
hundred and eighty pounds in full for building ye 
meeting house in Duxbury. I say reed, by me, 
Samuel Sprague. 
Aug. 18, 1708. 


John Wadsworth, T. Clerk." 
From the nature of the public duties which these 
three grandsons of Francis Sprague, John^ William^ 
and Samuel^ were called upon to perform, I infer 

should be more content among the people as to the measures of 
the British towards the colonies, he and some others readily com- 
plied with the request. He afterwards supported the measures 
adopted by the patriots, for the preservation of the rights and 
liberties of the colonies, and had a seat in the General Court, 
as a member from Lancaster. Subsequently Mr. Sprague was 
the SheriiFfor Worcester county, and Chief Justice of the Court 
of Common Pleas. He possessed the entire confidence of his 
fellow-citizens, as a man of probity and good judgment ; and those 
who best knew him, were wilhng to repose their highest worldly 
interests in his hands. He died in 1800, at the age of sixty 

I have not been able to determine from what ancestor the sub- 
ject of this notice descended. But the fact of his having been 
born in Rochester, taken in connection with the statement of 
Judge Mitchell, referred to in the text, would seem to indicate 
that he was a descendant of Samuel, grandson of Francis 



that they were noted for intelhgeiice and moral 

A. Page 33. 

From the manner in which the wife of John Sprague, 
son of Francis, is mentioned in the following extract from 
the Duxbury Records, it would seem that she married a 
second husband by the name of Thomas : 

" In reference unto the agreement of John Sprague and 
his mother (now Ruth Thomas) at Plymouth, in Court, 
June the sixth, 1683 ; aboute the bounds of their land at 
Duxbury, we, whose names are underwritten, being em- 
ployed aboute that business have to the content and assent 
of both parties settled the bounds as foUoweth," &c. 
" John Tracy, 
John Soule, 
William Pabodie." 
" The above written, &c., .... was truly transcribed 
out of the original agreement and recorded by order, 

p. me Rhodolphus Thacher, 
this 22 March, 1693-4." 

B. Page 33. 

It is probable that John Sprague, grandson of Francis, 
was a conspicuous member of the Church in Duxbury, 
from the manner in which the following extracts from the 
Records make mention of his name in connection with the 
names of Rev. Messrs. Wiswall and Robinson, who were 


pastors of that Church successively for about seventy 
years." * 

* Dr. Young, in his Chronicles of the Pilgrims (p. 394), has 
this note : — 

" The Church in Duxbury was formed in 1632. ' Those that 
lived on their lots on the other side of the bay (called Duxburrow) 
could no longer bring their wives and children to the public wor- 
ship and church meetings here (at Plymouth), but with such 
burthen, as growing to some competent number, they sued to be 
dismissed and became a body of themselves ; and so they were 
dismissed about this time (though very unwillingl)'), and some 
time after being united into one entire body, they procured Rev. 
Mr. Ralph Partrich to be their pastor.' MS. Records Plym. 
Church, p. 36." 

Tliere have been ten pastors of this Church since the incor- 
poration of the town in 1637. Their names and the dates of their 
settlement, so far as I have been able to ascertain the latter, are 
as follow : — 

Rev. Ralph Partridge settled in 1637. [Continued pas- 
tor until his death in 1658.] 
" John Holmes, settled after 1658. 
" Ichabod Wis wall, " about 1670. [He was pastor 

about 30 years.] 
" John Robinson settled in 1700. 

" Samuel Veazie " 

" 1739. 

" Charles Turner '' 

" 1755. 

*' Zedekiah Sanger " 

" 1776. 

" John Allyn " 

" 1788. 

" Benjamin Kent " 

" 1826. 

" Josiah Moore " 

" 1834. 

I am indebted to the Rev. Mr. Moore, the clergyman last 
named and the present pastor of the Church, for several of 
the dates in this list. I have consulted also a note to the " To- 
pographical Description of Duxborough," by Alden Bradford. 
Hist, Coll., vol. ii., pp. 7, 8. 


" May 7th, 1700. Samuel Seabury and John Sprague^ 
were chosen to give Mr. Ichabod Wiswall a deed of the 
land which the town did formerly grant unto him." 

" July 15lh, 1701. The town chose ensign John Tracie, 
Mr. David Alden, Mr. William Brewster, and Mr. John 
Sprague to treat with Mr. John Robinson, whom the town 
called to the ministry, concerning his settlement in Dux- 

I find no mention of this John Sprague, nor of his sons 
Ephraim and Benjamin, as inhabitants of Duxbury, after 
1701. And none of the descendants of either of them 
have ever since been known to reside there. 

In the course of an attempt to trace the genealogies of 
the Rev. Dr. William B. Sprague, of Albany, and of 
Thomas Sprague, Esq., of Detroit, Michigan — the great 
grandfather of each of whom resided in Lebanon, Con- 
necticut * — I have been led to the conclusion that they 
are both descended from Francis Sprague, through his 
grandson John above named, who, with his sons Ephraim 
and Benjamin, as I infer, removed from Duxbury to Leb- 
anon after 1701, and before 1707. 

The considerations on which I adopt this inference are 
as follow : — 

1. Judge Mitchell states, t in regard to the immediate 
descendants of Francis Sprague, that they " spread away 
upon the south shore into Rochester, Fairhaven, &c." 

* This fact I have on the authority of a letter of the Rev. Dr. 
Sprague, addressed to me, and of a letter from Thomas Sprague, 
Esq., to Hon. Seth Sprague. 

f Letter in the 2d edition of the Genealogy of the Spragues in 


The town of Lebanon, Connecticut — within sixty miles 
of the place last named, and only about twenty miles from 
the waters of Long Island Sound — may fairly come within 
this specification. The statement, however, is not true in 
regard to all the descendants of Francis Sprague, for some 
of them, as I have shown, remained in Duxbury. 

2. Rev. Dr. Sprague, in his letter to me, states that the 
name of his great-grandfather was either Benjamin or 
John^ and that according to tradition he went from Dux- 
bury and settled in Lebanon ; in the neighborhood of which 
place Dr. Sprague was born. 

3. I have the assurance of the Town Clerk of Lebanon * 
that the marriage of Benjamin Sprague and Mary Wood- 
worthy December 29th, 1707, is entered on the Records of 
that town ; as also the marriage of John Sprague and 
Mary Babcock, February 22d, 1710; and that the former 
had fourteen children, and the latter seven. 

Now in the list of the descendants of William Sprague, 
of Hingham, as given in this volume, and among the 
descendants of Ralph Sprague, of Charlestown, so far as I 
know them, there are only two individuals bearing the 
names of Benjamin and John^ who could possibly have 
been referred to in the Records of Lebanon. These are 
the grandsons of William of Hingham, and sons of William 
who settled in Providence. But of them, Benjamin was 
born, January 3d, 1695, and therefore in December, 1707, 

* John Wattles, Esq., who has very kindly and promptly re- 
plied to two communications of mine in reference to what the 
Records of Lebanon contain concerning persons of the name of 
Sprague. He states that there is no individual of that name at 
present residing there. 



was not quite thirteen years old ; and John, who was born 
September 13th, 1692, was only a few months over seven- 
teen in February, 1710. It is hardly to be supposed that 
the former could have been the Benjamin mentioned in the 
Lebanon Records as having been married in December, 
1707 ; and as to the latter, it is at least improbable that he 
was the John whose marriage is stated to have taken place 
in February, 1710. Thirteen and seventeen years are 
certainly precocious ages for assuming the relations of 
married life. 

But on the supposition that the Benjamin Sprague, re- 
ferred to in the Lebanon Records, was the son of John — 
griandson of Francis — and that the father himself is in- 
tended by the name of John in these Records, no such 
objections on the score of age will arise. This Benjamin 
was born, July 15th, 1685 ; and, therefore, on the 29th 
December, 1707, was over twenty-two years old. It is 
further to be noticed that his mother's Christian name was 
Lydla, and that the same name occurs in the list of his 
children given below. As to his father, the Mary Babcock, 
to whom John is recorded to have been married in Febru- 
ary, 1710, may have been his second wife. The number 
of the children of each, as stated, seems to warrant this 
last conjecture. 

Benjamin and Mary Sprague, according to the Lebanon 
Records, had fourteen children : — 

John, born September 5th, 1709. 

Eliakim, " October 10th, 1711. 

Mary, " IV'arch 5th, 1713. 

William, " September 29th, 1715. 

Phineas, '' September 5th, 1717. 

Jerusha, " October 20lh, 1720. 


Benjamin, born June 5th, 1725. 

Silas, " January 30th, 1727. 

Abigail, " November 23d, 1729. 

Elkenah, " January 25th, 1732. 

Minor, " March 5th, 1734. 

Li/dia, " March 20th, 1736. 

Esther, " March 3d, 1738. 

Mary, " September 10th, 1740. 

John and Mary Sprague, according to the same Records, 
had seven children : — 

Ebenezer, born December 12th, 1711. 

Hannah, " June 30th, 1714. 

Jonathan, " April 30th, 1716. 

John, " July 22d, 1723. 

Thomas, " May 8th, 1725. 

Huldah, " April loth, 1734. 

Rachel, " August 19th, 1737. 
Thomas Sprague, Esq., in his letter to Hon. Seth 
Sprague, * states that his grandfather, whose name was 
Silas, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, January 3d, 
1729. There can be but little doubt that he is the Silas 
mentioned in the list above given of the children of Benja- 
min Sprague, and that the true date of his birth is January 
20th, 1727, as I have stated it on the authority of the 
Lebanon Records. It is easy to conceive how this date 
may have been changed by errors of transcribers to Janu- 
ary 3d, 1729. • 

* The object of this letter was to ascertain the writer's rela- 
tionship to the Daxbury branch of the Sprague family, by deter- 
mining the name of his great-grandfather. 


For further particulars in regard to this Silas Sprague 
and his descendants, I will take the liberty to quote from 
the letter of his grandson, above named. 

" My grandfather," he says, " had two wives. By the 
first, Eunice Binney, he had seven children : — Barnabas, 
who died in 1751, Eunice, Barnabas, 2d, Hannah, Mary, 
Silas and Andrew. By his second wife, Abigail Hill, he 
had eight children : — Roger, Azel, Thomas, Sophia, 
Betsey, Betsey, 2d, Fanny and Aminty. My father, 
Roger, had also eight children, of whom I am the young- 
est. My grandfather had one brother by the name of 
William, and, my father thinks, another by the name of 
Elkenah. * My grandfather removed before the revolu- 
tionary war to Great Barrington, Mass., and afterwards to 
E. Bloomfield, Ontario Co., N. Y., where he died, Sep- 
tember, 1808. My father removed, in August, 1822, to 
Oakland County, Michigan, where he now t resides." 

C. Page 34. 

There is in the Duxbury Records, under date of Novem- 
ber 20th, 1714, a copy of an agreement between Moses 
Soule and Grace Sprague, widow, relict of William 
Sprague, and administratrix of his estate, in regard to 
twenty acres of woodland, formerly sold by Moses Soule 
to William Sprague, " whereon," it is stated, " said Grace 
now dwelleth." The document is signed by Moses Soule 

* It will be seen that both these names occur in the list I have 
given of the children of Benjamin and Mary Sprague, as found 
in the Records of Lebanon. 

t March 19th, 1847. 


and Grace Sprague (her mark), and witnessed by Samuel 
Sprague and Jonathan Delanoe. 

I find also in these Records a copy of an agreement, 
dated November 30th, 1723, between Christopher Wads- 
worth and Grace Sprague, widow, relict of William 
Sprague, concerning the division of North Hill, and lands 
in that vicinity. 

North Hill is now in the possession of Hon. Seth 
Sprague, Jr., and was purchased by him at the auction 
sale of the property of the late Samuel A. Frazer. 

NOTE VI. Page 16. 

Beside yon height, along this wood-girl hay, 
The exile's axe is heard al opening day ; 

The height referred to is Captain^ s Hill in Dux- 
bury, so called in honor of the renowned Captain 
Miles Standish, whose property, with land adjacent, 
it once was, and whose residence was near the margin 
of its south-eastern slope, not far from the sea-shore. 
The site of his house and the spring from which he 
drew water have been identifiedj and are pointed out 
at the present day.* 

* The town of Duxbury was probably so named by Slandish 
after the family seat of his ancestors in England. He died in 
1656. The house in which he lived v/as afterwards burnt, while 
occupied by his oldest son, Alexander. Evidences of the fire still 
exist on the spot ; but at what date it took place is not certainly 
known. It is stated by Russell [Guide to Plymouth, A ^^endix 


Captain's Hill is about one hundred and eighty- 
feet above the level of the sea, and forms part of a 
peninsula known as '-'■the Nook ;^^ which extends 
about half a mile in a south-easterly direction be- 
tween Duxbury and Plymouth Bays. 

The Hill is, in a manner, consecrated by the as- 
sociations which connect it, directly, with the mem- 

p. xii.] on the authority of Lewis Bradford, Esq., the aged and 
venerable Town Clerk of Plympton, that the Town Records of 
Daxbury were burned in this fire, — Alexander Standish being 
Town Clerk and in possession of the Records at the time. If 
this were the fact, we might suppose that the first entries in the 
existing Records would have been made by Alexander Standish. 
But, on the contrary, I find that William Pabodie made the first 
entries therein, as Town Clerk, in the year 1666 ; and that he 
held this office until 1684, from which date to 1694, it was filled 
by Bhodolphus Thatcher. In 1694 he was succeeded by ^/ej-anc^er 
Standish, who is not before mentioned as acting in that capacity, 
though at this time he must have been over sixty years of age. 
He was Town Clerk six years, — having been succeeded in 1700 
by John Wadsworth, who held the post until his death in 1750, 
with the exception of the year 1709, 1710, when it was filled by 
Samuel Sprague. 

There can be no doubt that Miles Standish's house, and the 
early Records of Duxbury were burnt as commonly reported — 
the latter, it would seem, about 1666 — but the probability is, 
from what I have just stated, that the Records were not in the pos- 
session of Alexander Standish at the time the house was burned. 
The Rev. Josiah Moore, of Duxbury, in a recent communication 
to me, writes thus, in allusion to the Church Records. " I am 
informed that they were burned, together with those of the 
Town, at a fire which occurred at Pembroke where at the time 
they were deposited." 


ories of Standish, of Brewster, of Collier, and others 
of the Pilgrims, who took np their abode at its base 
or in its vicinity ; and, incidentally, with the whole 
history of that heroic band of exiles, the principal 
scenes of whose toils and sufferings in their new- 
found home, are all visible from its summit. The view 
from this point would impress any observer as com- 
bining many of the elements of beauty ; but in the 
heart of one who has pondered the history of our 
forefathers, and who, perchance, has a drop of Pil- 
grim blood in his veins, the sight awakens emotions 
of a higher nature, and inspires sentiments that 
invest the landscape with something of their own 
sanctity, making it all " holy ground." 

Looking towards the east, the eye ranges over 
Massachusetts Bay, and occasionally, in a clear at- 
mosphere, may catch a glimpse of Cape Cod, which 
stretches out its protecting arm as if to enfold a 
region of the globe peculiarly precious. Nearer, pro- 
jecting in almost a straight course from the north- 
eastern angle vof Duxbury, and continuous with the 
shore of Marshfield, may be seen a long and narrow 
line of beach — which forms a protecting barrier to 
Duxbury Bay against the ocean-storms — crowned 
by the Gurnet with its light-house and the sheltering 
crescent of Saquish. Nearly opposite to the Gurnet, 
on the other side of the entrance to the harbor, rises 
the blue summit of Manomet. Just within the Bay 
of Duxbury, and between Saquish and the Nook, 
lies Clark's Island, ever memorable as being the 
spot where a small company of the Pilgrims, sent out 


from the Mayflower to explore the coast, sought 
sheher on a dark and stormy December night, and 
where their first Sabbath- worship on the soil of New 
England was oifered.^ And across the waters of 
the Bay, which washes the margin of the Hill on 
the South, stands out in bold relief against a back- 
ground of pine-clad hills the far-famed village of 
Plymouth. Still following the circuit of forest on 
the south and west, the eye falls in succession upon 
the pleasant villages of Rocky-Nook, Kingston, and 
a part of Duxbury, until on turning again to the 
north-east, the observer has a delightful view of the 
other and more populous part of the latter village, 
extending towards him for nearly two miles along 
the shore of the Bay. 

In justification of the epithet ' wood-girt,' as ap- 
plied to the Bay at the time of the first settlements 
in Duxbury, it may be remarked, that the interval 
between the shore and the edge of the woodland 
will hardly average a mile at the present time ; and 
there is good reason to suppose that when the Pil- 
grims arrived, this whole space was covered with 
forest trees. Clark's Island was certainly well wooded 
at that time. For Bradford and Winslow, in their 
Journal, f speak of "two fine islands in the bay, 
uninhabited, wherein are nothing but woods, oaks, 

* See under D. 

f This Journal has usually been known as " Mourt's Rela- 
tion," — the name of G. Mourt being signed to the preface — 
but Dr. Young [Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 115,] for very sat- 
isfactory reasons ascribes it to Bradford and Winslow. 


pines, walnuts, beeches, sassafras, and other trees 
which we know not." One of these islands must 
have been Clark's Island, and the other probably 
was Brown's Island, which, in its exposed situation, 
has since been gradually wasted away by " the pelt- 
ings of the pitiless storm," and is now under water, 
forming a very dangerous shoal at the mouth of Ply- 
mouth harbor.^ 

One singular fact, in regard to the timber-land of 
this region, is stated in Bradford's " Topographical 
Description of Duxbury."-|- This author, writing in 
1793, says that Samuel Alden,J who died in 1780, 
aged ninety-three, and of whom he had a distinct 
and perfect recollection, § remembered the time when 
the luhite pine began to grow in Duxbury. This 
would carry the date of the first appearance here of 
the white pine to about the year 1700. But it will 
be observed, that Bradford and Winslow, in the 
passage cited above, mention ^^ pines ^^ among the 
trees that were growing at Clark's and Brown's 
Islands in 1620. These were probably of the variety 
known as the pitch pine, which is not injuriously 
affected by salt water, and which in many parts 
of Massachusetts is found nearer to the sea than any 
other pine. || 

* See under E. 
t Hist. Coll. Vol. ii. 

J Grandson of John Alden, who came in the Mayflower. 
§ New England Biography, p. 26. 

II See Emerson's Report on the Trees and Shruhs of Massa- 
chusetts ; a very able work, recently published. 


D. Page 48. 

The Mayflower arrived at " Cape Harbor," now the 
harbor of Provincetown, on the 11th of November, 1620. 
She remained at anchor here until the 15th of December. 
In the meantime three expeditions were fitted out to explore 
the coast, with the view of selecting a suitable place to 
commence a settlement. The last of these, which consisted 
of Standish, Carver, Bradford, Winslow, and six others of 
the Pilgrims, together with eight of the ship's crew, making 
eighteen persons in all, left the Mayflower on the 6th of 
December, and on the fifth day afterwards, or on the 
eleventh,* landed at Plymouth, which they considered " a 
place very good for situation." t 

On their way thither, as they were approaching Manomet 
Point, on the afternoon of the 8th, a severe storm of snow 
and rain, which began early in the day, had increased to 
such violence that their boat was in imminent danger of 
being wrecked. The rudder is broken in the heavy sea, 
and while they are pressing sail to gain the harbor, which 
the pilot, who has been in these regions before and pretends 
to be acquainted with the coast, assures them" is close at 
hand, the mast also breaks into three pieces. By favor of 
a flood tide, however, and the help of oars, they run in be- 

* The 21st of December, corresponding to the llth of Old 
Style, is properly the Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims, 
and not the 22d, which has hitherto been observed as such. See 
Budington's History of the First Church in Charlestown, p 182. 
Russell's Guide to Plymouth, p. 213. 

f Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 162. 


tween the Gurnet and Brown's Island. But here the pilot 
discovers that he is in a strange place, and seems to lose all 
presence of mind, for he is about to run the boat " ashore 
in a cove* full of breakers, before the wind," when a 
sailor, who is steering with an oar, cries out to the rowers, 
" About with her, or we are cast away." The order is 
promptly obeyed, and " dark night growing upon them," 
they bear up for a " small rise of land," which, though it 
is " compassed about with many rocks," they reach by the 
favor of Heaven in " a place of sandy ground," where 
their shallop rides " safe and secure all that night." 
Some hesitate about going on shore, for fear there might 
be Indians in the place ; but others are so wet and cold, 
that they determine to run that risk for the sake of a better 
chance of refreshing themselves. They accordingly land, 
and with much difficulty kindle a fire. After midnight the 
wind changes, it freezes hard, and those in the boat finally 
go on shore, giving over their fears at the sight of the 
cheerful flames ; before which the whole company repose 
for the rest of the night in safety and comparative comfort. 
When morning dawns they discover that they are on an 
island. It is the last day of the week, and, concluding to 
remain here until the following Monday, they employ 
themselves in drying their clothes and putting their pieces 
in order, not forgetting to return thanks to God for their 
many deliverances. And on the same spot, the day after, 
" they keep their Christian Sabbath," — the fifth Sabbath 
they had religiously observed since their arrival at Cape 

* New England's Memorial, p. 47. Morton, the author of this 
work, first published in 1669, states in a note that this " Cove " 
was between the Gurnet and Saquish. 


Cod, but the first any of the Pilgrims had passed on shore. 
" Nothing," says Bancroft, " marks the character of the 
Pilgrims more fully than that they keep it sacredly, though 
every consideration demanded haste." * 

The island, whose friendly shelter was thus providen- 
tially offered, and whose " dim woods " tlius " rang to the 
anthems of the free," " was afterwards," as we are in- 
formed by their historian, " called Clark's Island, because 
Mr. Clark, the master's mate, first stepped on shore 
thereon." t 

This island belongs to the township of Plymouth, and 
contains eighty-six and a quarter acres of good land. In 
the early days of the Colony, it was reserved for the poor 
of the town, who were allowed to take their wood and to 
pasture their cattle there. It was at that time covered with 
a rich growth of trees, principally of red cedar, three de- 
caying trunks of which are at present the only remnants of 
its original forest. In 1690, the island was sold to Samuel 
Lucas, Elkanah Watson and George Morton. John Wat- 
son, Esq , — one of the founders of the Old Colony Club, 
and President of the Pilgrim Society for six years previous 
to his death in 1826, — resided here about forty years. 
His son, Mr. Edward Watson, is now the occupant of the 
island. J 

Another interesting incident, connected with Clark's 

* N. E. Memorial, p. 47. Young's Chron. of the Pil., 159. 
Bancroft's Hist, of U. States, Vol. i., pp. 312, 313. Prince's 
Annals, p. 167. 

f New England's Memorial, p, 47. 

I Young's Chron. of the Pilgrims, p. 160. Russell's Guide to 
Plymouth, p. 214. 


Island, deserves to be mentioned. At the breaking out of 
Philip's war in 1675, the " praying Indians," as they were 
called — that is, those Indians who were supposed to have 
been converted to Christianity by the preaching of Eliot, 
the Mayhews, and others — shared the aversion and distrust 
that were felt on the part of the whites towards the Indians 
generally, and, moreover, were severely reproached by the 
adherents of Philip, and occasionally exposed to their re- 
venge. In order to protect these converts from the fury 
of their hostile brethren, and doubtless also to secure their 
fidelity, it was thought best to isolate them as much as 
possible. The " praying Indians " of Natick, and other 
places in the Massachusetts Colony, were sent to Deer 
Island in Boston harbor, and a part of those in the jurisdic- 
tion of Plymouth, particularly those of Namassakesett, 
now Pembroke, were conveyed to Clark's Island, at the 
mouth of Duxbury Bay. * It is not stated how long they 
remained under this species of duress, but probably until 
the end of the war in J 677. The expedient might well 
have been applied to all the converted Indians ; for King 
Philip's war " not only shook the faith of the common sort, 
but many that had been at the head of praying towns, the 
Indian ministers themselves, were found in arms against 
their white Christian neighbors." t 

* N. E. Memorial, p. 410. 

f Drake's Book of the Indians, p. 115, ninth ed. 



E. Page 49. 

Judge Davis * and Dr. Young t are of opinion that the 
shoal at the mouth of Plymouth Bay, called Brown's 
Island, was under water, as it now is, when the Pilgrims 
arrived. They draw this conclusion from a comparison of 
Governor Winthrop's and Secretary Morton's separate 
accounts of the wreck of two boats which took place on 
this spot, October 6th, 1635. These boats or shallops, 
laden vv^ith goods for Connecticut, were overtaken by an 
easterly storm, driven ashore, and their crews, consisting 
of five men, were drowned. Governor Winthrop, in al- 
luding to this event, says that " the shallops were cast 
away on Brown's Island, near the Gurnet's Nose." 

And Morton * remarks of the same disaster, that the 
boats " ran upon a skirt of a flat that lieth near the mouth 
of the harbor." " This," says Dr. Young, "seems con- 
clusive of the point that Brown's Island was then under 
water ; " and Judge Davis has a note to the same effect. 
The former, therefore, infers that one of the " two fine 
islands in the bay " must have been Saquish, " which," 
he says, " although a peninsula, very much resembles an 
island, and may very naturally have been mistaken for 
one ; or at that time the water may have flowed across the 
narrow neck which now unites it with the Gurnet, and 
completely isolated it." The inference of the latter editor 

* N. E. Memorial, p. 182. 

f Chronicl;:s of the Pilgrims, pp. 1G3, 164. 


is, that one of the two islands must have been " Saquish, 
or the Gurnet, or both, as they are connected by a 

But some considerations have occurred to me — and with 
deference I will venture to state them here — favoring the 
opposite view, that an island, properly so called, existed 
on the site of Brown's Island Shoal at the time of the 
arrival of the Pilgrims, and was one of the two islands in 
the bay referred to in their early histories. 

1. Why was the term island ever applied to this spot ? 
If it had always been a shoal or a flat, as it now is, from 
the time it was first visited by Englishmen, it is difficult to 
assign a satisfactory reason why it should have been called 
an island. Besides, there is a very prevalent tradition 
that there was once an island in this place, and it is said 
that stumps of trees have been discovered here within less 
than a century. * Both the name and the tradition are 
facts which cannot well be accounted for, except on the 
supposition that there was an island, properly so called, on 
the site of this shoal at a period not very remote. 

2. Why was it called Brown''s Island ? Russell, t who 
is of opinion that it was one of the *' two islands " of the 
harbor referred to in the first histories of the Colony, says, 
" Its name was probably derived from Peter Brown, who 
came in the Mayflower." But he does not suggest any 
reason why that individual, rather than any other, should 
have had the honor or the good fortune to transmit his 
name, in this way, to after ages. Nevertheless, I think he 
is correct in the supposition ; for, if I mistake not, there is 

* N. E. Memorial, note, p. 48. Russell's Guide, p. 272. 
\ Guide to Plymouth, p. 272. 



a passage in Bradford and Winslow's Journal which points 
very significantly to this individual, as the person after 
whom the island was named, and to the occasion of the 
preference. I refer to the account given in that Journal,* 
with respect to Peter Brown and John Goodman, who lost 
their way in the woods near Plymouth, January 12th, 1622, 
and after walking back and forth under a tree all night to 
keep themselves warm — for " it was an extreme cold 
night " — " travelled again, so soon as it was light, passing 
by many lakes and brooks and woods," until, ** in the after- 
noon it pleased God from a high hill they discovered the 
two isles in the hay, and so that night got to the plantation, 
being ready to faint with travail and want of victuals, and 
almost famished with cold." This was an event which would 
be likely to be much talked about and long remembered ; 
and what more probable than that, the name of one of the 
bewildered travellers, who might have been the first to 
descry the islands, should afterwards have been attached 
to that one of them which had hitherto been nameless ? 
We have already seen that Clark's Island was so called 
after the mate of the Mayflower, who was the first to step 
ashore on it; and, most probably, it bore this name prior 
to the event above related. 

3. As to the intimation that Saquish might have been 
mistaken for an island, or that it was actually surrounded 
by water at that time, it may be remarked, in the first 
place, that if the Pilgrims made a mistake on this point, it 
is hardly to be supposed that they would not very soon 
have discovered their error. But the two islands in the 
bay are twice referred to in Bradford and Winslow's 

* Young's Chron. of the PiL, 174, 175, 176, 177. 


Journal,* which was not published till 1622; so that, 
according to the intimation, these two historians, with every 
advantage of observation on the spot, must have remained 
for two years in ignorance of the fact, that Saquish was 
connected whh the Gurnet by a neck of land. This is an 
inference too improbable to be admitted, and therefore we 
are compelled to believe that each of the islands referred 
to was actually an island, and that neither of them was 
mistaken for such. 

In the second place, it is to be observed that there are 
no appearances now about the peninsula of Saquish, which 
give color to the supposition that the tide ever flowed be- 
tween it and the Gurnet. And if this had been the case, 
the probability is that the breach would have been widened 
rather than filled up in the course of time. Besides, we 
have seen that Morton, who copied from Bradford, speaks 
of a " cove " between Saquish and the Gurnet, and of its 
being " full of breakers." This language certainly im- 
plies that there was a crescent-shaped and continuous 
neck joining these two places at that time, as there is at 
the present day. 

4. The *'^a^," on the skirt or edge of which, according 
to Morton, the two boats were wrecked, might have been 
a shoal extending out from the island referred to in Win- 
throp's account. The former might have alluded to the 
Jlat, by way of defining the precise locality of the disaster ; 
and the latter, speaking in more general terms, might have 
mentioned Brown's Island, in the neighborhood of which 
the accident happened, as the most conspicuous and best 
known landmark. 

= Young's Chron. of the Pil., pp. 163, 177. 


NOTE VII. Page 16. 

That daughter ! here my meagre strain obeys 
A pious wish, and for a moment stays. 

Allusion is here made to Hon. Seth Sprague's grand- 
mother, who was descended from Francis Sprague. 
She was the daughter of William Sprague, grandson 
of Francis, and her name was Zeruiah. * She was 
married, March 19th, 1724, f to Nathaniel Chandler, 
a descendant from Edmund Chandler, one of the 
Pilgrims who early settled at Duxbury, and a man, 
probably, of great respectability and influence, as his 
name is found in the list of representatives from that 
town to the General Court. X Her husband was by 
trade a shoemaker, and owned a small farm. His 
name appears three times upon the Duxbury Records, 
but not in connection with any official trust more 
important than that of surveyor of highways. He 
bore a high reputation for industry and integrity, but 
was not otherwise a man of marked character. In 
1740, he was enlisted by General John Winslow to 
serve in the expedition against the Spanish West 
Indies under Admiral VernOn, <§> in compliance with 
the summons of the mother country upon her colonies 
north of Carolina, to contribute four battalions to the 

* See Note V. 

f Duxl)ury Records. 

X Hist. Coll., Vol. X., 2d series, Notes on Duxbury. 

^ See under F. 


armament. This expedition utterly failed in its ob- 
jects, and proved eminently disastrous to the troops, 
of whom it is said that no less than three thousand 
four hundred and forty-five died of the prevailmg 
fever of the tropics, in the short space of two days. 
Of five hundred men from Massachusetts, only fifty 
returned. * Mr. Chandler was one of those who fell 
victims to the climate. The precise date of his death 
is not known, but it must have occurred some time in 
the summer or fall of 1741. 

He left his widow and seven daughters in rather 
destitute circumstances. But by great industry and 
economy she obtained a comfortable maintenance for 
her household, and gave her daughters an elementary 
education considered good and sufficient at that day; 
and, what is of far greater value than any training 
of the intellect, she disciplined her orphan charge, by 
example as well as by precept, to habits of virtue 
and piety. They were particularly instructed in all 
kinds of household duties, and taught to look upon 
the faithful discharge of those duties as peculiarly ap- 
propriate to the sphere of woman, and her most 
honorable distinction. In after life they knew how 
to appreciate the wisdom of their mother's lessons 
and practice, for they were all married and had 
families. Mrs. Chandler was a woman of strong, 
vigorous intellect, of warm affections, and of high 
religious faith, and she seems to have communicated 

* Holmes's Annals, Vol. ii., p. 17. 


these qualities to her offspring.* But neither of her 
daughters, probably, partook of their mother's excel- 
lencies in a greater degree than did she who became 
the mother of our Patriarch, and of whose character 
I shall have occasion to speak in a subsequent note.t 

F. Page 58. 

The expedition to the Spanish West hidies, referred 
to in Note VII., was undertaken in pursuance of the policy 
of the English government under the administration of 
Walpole — though this minister was opposed to it — to 
open a commerce with the colonies of Spain. " A war 
was desired," says Bancroft, J " not because England in- 
sisted on cutting logwood in the Bay of Honduras, where 
Spain claimed a jurisdiction, and had founded no settle- 
ments ; nor because the South Sea Company differed with 
the King of Spain as to the balances of their accounts ; 
nor yet because the boundary between Carolina and Flor- 
ida was still in dispute ; — these differences could all have 
been adjusted; — but because English 'merchants were 
not permitted to smuggle with impunity.' " 

" In an ill hour for herself," continues the same histo- 
rian, " in a happy one for America, England declared war 
against Spain. § If the rightfulness of the European colo- 

* I have drawn from letters and conversations of Hon. Seth 
Sprague, most of the materials for this notice of his grandparents, 
t See Note XIV. 

% Hist, of the U. States, Vol. iii., p. 435. 
§ October 23d, 1739. 


nial system be conceded, the declaration was a wanton 
invasion of it for imnnediate selfish purposes ; but, in en- 
deavoring to open the ports of Spanish America to the 
mercantile enterprise of her own people, England was 
also, though unconsciously, making war on monopoly, and 
advancing the cause of commercial freedom. The strug- 
gle was now, not for European conquests, or the balance 
of power, or religion, but for the opportunity of commerce 
with the colonies of Spain. That a great nation, like 
Spain, should be compelled by force of arms to admit a 
contraband trade with any part of its dominions, was an 
absurdity. England, therefore, could gain her purpose 
only by destroying the colonial system of Spain ; and she 
began a career, which could not end till American colonies 
of her own, as well as of Spain, should obtain indepen- 

Encouraged by a successful attack on Porto Bello, 
under Edward Vernon, on the 21st and 22d of November 
1739, and the capture and destruction of Fort Chagre, on 
this side of the Isthmus of Darien, in the following year; 
"England," to follow still further the brilliant pages of 
Bancroft, " prepared to send to the West Indies by far the 
largest fleet and army that had ever appeared in the Gulf 
of Mexico, and summoned the colonies north of Carolina 
to contribute four battalions to the armament. No colony 
refused its quota ; even Pennsylvania voted a contribution 
of money, and thus enabled its governor to enlist troops 
for the occasion. ' It will not be amiss,' wrote Sir Charles 
Wager to Admiral Vernon, ' for both French and Spaniards 
to be a month or two in the West Indies before us, that 
they may be half dead and half roasted, before our fleet 
arrives.' So the expedition from England did not begin 


its voyage till October, and, after stopping for water at 
Dominica, where Lord Cathcart, the commander of the 
land forces, fell a victim to the climate, reached Jamaica 
in the early part of the following year. 

" How has history been made the memorial of the 
passionate misdeeds of men of mediocrity ! The death of 
Lord Cathcart left the command of the land forces with 
the inexperienced, irresolute Wentworth ; the naval force 
was under the impetuous Vernon, who was impatient of 
contradiction, and ill disposed to endure even an associate. 
The enterprise, instead of having one good leader, had two 
bad ones. 

" Wasting at Jamaica the time from the ninth of January, 
1741, till near the end of the month, at last, with a fleet of 
twenty-nine ships of the line, beside about eighty smaller 
vessels, with fifteen thousand sailors, with twelve thousand 
land forces, equipped with all sorts of warlike instruments, 
and every kind of convenience, Vernon weighed anchor, 
without any definite purpose. Havana lay within three 
days' sail ; its conquest would have made England supreme 
in the Gulf of Mexico. But Vernon insisted on searching 
for the fleet of the French and Spaniards ; and the French 
had already left the fatal climate. 

" The council of war, yielding to the vehement direction 
of Admiral Vernon, resolved to attack Carthagena, the 
strongest place in Spanish America. The fleet appeared 
before the town on the fourth of March, and lost five days 
in inactivity. Fifteen days were required to gain pos- 
session of the fortress that rose near the entrance to the 
harbor ; the Spaniards themselves abandoned Castillo 
Grande. It remained to storm Fort San Lazaro, which 
commanded the town. The attack, devised without judg- 


ment, was made by twelve hundred men with intrepidity ; 
but the assailants were repulsed, with the loss of half their 
number, while the admiral gave no timely aid to the 
land forces; and discord aggravated defeat. Ere long, 
rains set in ; the days were wet, the nights brilliant with 
vivid lightning. The fever of the low country in the 
tropics began its rapid work ; men perished in crowds ; 
the dead were cast into the sea, sometimes without wmdmg 
sheet or sinkers ; the hospital ships were crowded with 
miserable sufferers. In two days, the effective force on 
land dwindled from six thousand six hundred to three 
thousand two hundred. 

"In July, an attack on Santiago, in Cuba, was medita- 
ted, and abandoned almost as soon as attempted. 

"' Such were the fruits of an expedition which was to 
have prepared the way for conquering Mexico and Peru. 
Of the recruits from the colonies, nine out of ten fell vic- 
tims to the climate and the service. When the fleet 
returned to Jamaica, late in November, 1741, the entire 
loss of lives is estimated to have been about twenty 
thousand, of whom few fell by the enemy. Vernon 
attributed the failure to his own want of self-command. 

It is certain that nothing had been accomplished 

England had made no acquisitions, and had inflicted on 
the Spanish West Indies far less evil than she herself had 
suffered." * 

* Mount Vernon, the seat of George Washington, derived its 
name from Admiral Vernon. Lawrence Washington, the eldest 
brother of George, — and from whom the latter inherited this 
estate, — served in the expedition against the West Indies above 
referred to, and so far acquired the esteem and confidence of 


NOTE VIII. Page 18. 

Another of thy house — so may we call 

The name, though no escutcheon decks the wall. 

William Sprague, before alluded to in Note IV., 
and of whom a more particular account will be found 
in Note X. 

NOTE IX. Page 18. 

A later exile, found the friendly shore, 
Where dwelt in peace the gentle Sagamore. 

Sagamore was a term usually applied by the In- 
dians to their Chiefs of second rank, the first in 
authority being called Sachem. But it was some- 
times used as synonymous with the latter title.^ 
The government of the aborigines being patriarchal, 
there might be several Sagamores in a tribe, though 
each tribe was subject to one Chief Sagamore or 
Sachem. These inferior chieftains were the great 

General Wentworth and Admiral Vernon, that he afterwards kept 
up a friendly correspondence with them ; and in compliment to 
the latter he gave the name of Mount Vernon to his seat on the 
Potomac River. [See Sparks' Life of Washington, pp. 10, 12 ] 
* Hutchinson's Hist, of Mass. pp. 407, 408. 


men or nobles of the tribe whom the Sachem con- 
suhed on important occasions.* 

The Sagamore ahuded to in the poem was Wona- 
HAQUAHAM, who rcsidcd on Mystic river, near the 
site of the present town of Maiden, and whose ju- 
risdiction included Mishawum, now Charlestown, 
where William Sprague, with two of his brothers, 
first settled. He was called by the English John 
Sagamore or Sagamore John. Governor Dudley 
describes him as " a handsome young man,t .... 
conversant with us, affecting English apparel and 
houses, and speaking well of our God." And the 
Charlestown records state that he was " a man nat- 
urally of a gentle and good disposition," and gave 
"free consent" to the Spragues and their few asso- 
ciates to " settle about the Hill."| The other Saga- 
mores in the neighborhood manifested similar friendly 

* The Indians " were governed by Sachems, Kings, and Sag- 
amores, petty lords." Lechford, cited by Lewis, Hist, of Lynn, 
p. 45. 

\ Wood says of the Indians; " They were more amiable to 
behold, though only in Adam's livery, than many a compounded 
fantastic in the newest fashion." And Lechford remarks ; " The 
Indesses that are young are some of them very comely, having 
good features. Many prettie Brovvnettas and spider-fingered 
lasses may be seen among them." Cited by Lewis, Hist, of 
Lynn, p. 53. 

:|: The Hill referred to is that on which the first Church now 
stands, between Main and Bow streets, near Charlestown square. 
This eminence was much higher at the time of the first settle- 
ment of the town than it now is. See Frothingham's Hist, of 
Charlestown, p. 94. 



feelings towards the English.* It is gratifying to 
know that this generous conduct was reciprocated 
on the part of the colonists ; for in their after deal- 
ings with the Indians, they were careful to observe 
the strictest honor. Not a rood of land was appro- 
priated without an equivalent to the original posses- 
sors; and when any injury was done to the pro- 
perty of the natives, through design or carelessness, 
the laws of the Colony enforced immediate satisfac- 
tion. Nor only so, but a considerate regard was paid 
to the peculiar tastes and time-hallowed associations 
of the red men, in leaving open to them, as of old, 
their favorite places of resort for fishing and hunt- 

WoNAHAQUAHAM, or Joliu Sagamore, was the son of 
Nanepashemet, or the New Moon, the great Sachem 
of the Pawtuckets, whose dominion extended on the 
north of Charles River as far as Concord on the 
Merrimack, and as far east as Piscataqua, now Ports- 
mouth. Nanepashemet lived at Lynn until the 
breaking out of the war of the Taratines, or Eastern 
Indians, against the western tribes in 1615. J He 
seems afterwards to have resided principally on the 
south side of Boston Bay, in Quincy or Dorchester, 
where he built a house, on the top of a hill, near to 
which, on the marsh, he constructed a fort. He 

* Bradford's Hist, of Mass. p. 22. 

f See Frothingham's Hist, of Charkstown, p. 31 ; Buding- 
ton, p. 37 ; also under G. 

I Lewis's Hist, of Lynn, p. 47. See also under H. 


built also another fortification on an eminence in the 
same neighborhood. To this last retreat he was 
pursued, and there killed in 1619, by his deadly ene- 
mies, the Taratines.* "The care," says Lewisf 
" which the great Moon Chief took to fortify him- 
self, shows the fear which he felt for his mortal 
enemy. With his death the vengeance of the Tar- 
atines seems in some degree to have abated; and 
his sons returning to the shore, collected the scat- 
tered remnants of their tribes, over whom they ruled 
as Sagamores on the arrival of our fathers." 

Nanepashemet left a widow, who as Squa Sachim, 
continued the government after his decease, three 
sons, and a daughter. His sons were Wo7iohaqua- 
ham^ — the immediate subject of our notice — Mon- 
toivampate^ and Wenepoyken ; the first, known to 
the English as Sagamore John^ of Mistick, or Mai- 
den ; the second, as Sagamore James, of Saugus, or 
Lynn ; and the last, as Sagamore 'George, of Naum- 
keag, or Salem, who, after the death of his brothers 
and his mother, became Sachem of the Pawtuckets. % 

When the Spragues commenced their settlement 
at Charlestown in 1629, these Sagamores and their 
tribes seem to have had quite as much dread of their 

* Young's Chron. Pil. p. 227. 

f Hist, of Lynn, p. 47. 

% Hist, of Lynn, by Lewis, who says further of Saganriore 
George ; " He was the proprietor of Deer Island, which he sold 
to Boston. He was taken prisoner in the Wampanoag war in 
1676, and died in 1684." 


old enemies as they had before the death of Nane- 
pashemet. And it is not improbable that the Colo- 
nists were indebted in part for the friendship of the 
Massachusetts Indians, to the fact that the latter sup- 
posed they should receive protection from the English 
against the Taratines. It is reported of the Massa- 
chusetts tribes, that "after the settlement of the 
country, they would fly to the houses of the English 
for a shelter from their fury ; for the Taratines were 
accustomed yearly, at harvest, to come down in their 
canoes, and reap their fields, and carry away their 
corn, and destroy their people."* 

In April and May, 1630, some of the Indians 
plotted a conspiracy to cut off" the English of the 
Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies. Sagamore 
John^ on this occasion, gave a signal proof of his 
friendly disposition towards the English at Charles- 
town, by revealing to them this conspiracy in season 
to put them on their guard, and thus, with the terror 
inspired by '-the report of the great guj;is at Salem, 
only shot off* to clear them," completely frustrated 
the design of the hostile Indians.f 

In 1631, the brothers John and James were at 
Agawam — now Ipswich — on a visit, when Mas- 
cononomo, Sagamore of that place, was fiercely at- 
tacked in the night by a party of the Taratines. 

* Planter's Ploa, cited by Frothingham, Hist, of Charlestown, 
p. 33. 

I Charlestown Records, in Young's Chron. of Mass. p. 378. 



They were both wounded, and the wife of the latter 
was carried away captive. But this attack seems 
to have been a special act of vengeance against 
Mascononomo, for having " treacherously killed some 
of the Tarateen families ; and he was therefore less 
pitied of the English."* 

Early in the following year, Sagamore John, with 
thirty of his men, accompanied Chikataubut, Saga- 
more of Neponset, on an expedition against the 
Pequots. This he did at the solicitation and in aid 
of Canonicus, Chief of the Narragansets. Governor 
Winthrop, in his Journal, under date of April, 1632, 
says, that " John Sagamore and Chikataubut were 
gone with all their men to Canonicus, who had sent 
for them." 

In the latter part of 1633 a terrible pestilence, said 
to be the small -pox, broke out among the Massachu- 
setts and Eastern Indians, by which great numbers 
of them perished. 

''At this time," say the Charlestown records, 
'' began a most grievous and terrible sickness amongst 
the Indians, who were exceedingly numerous about 
us, called the Aberginians.f Their disease was 
generally the small-pox, which raged not only 

* Frolhingham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 37. Fell's Hist, of 
Ipswich, p 3. Hubbard in Prince's Annals, p. 359. 

f " Tlie Abarginny men," says Edward Johnson, "consisted 
of the Massachusetts, Wippanaps, and Taratines." Young's 
Chron. Mass. p. 374. The true significance of this name ap- 
pears not to have been determined. 


amongst these, but amongst the Eastern Indians 
also, and in a few months, swept away multitudes 
of them, young and old. They could not bury their 
dead ; the Enghsh were constrained to help ; and 
that which is very remarkable is, that though the 
English did frequently visit them in their sickness, 
notwithstanding the infection, it was observed that 
not one Englishman was touched with the disease. 
But it was extremely infectious among themselves, 
and mortal where it took any of them."* The 
scourge was so dreadful, that, as Johnson says, 
" Relations were little regarded among them at this 
time, so that many who were smitten with disease 
died helpless, unless they were near and known to 
the English ; their powows, wizards, and charmers, 
were possessed with the greatest fear of any. The 
winter's piercing cold stayed not the strength of this 
hot disease, yet the English endeavoring to visit 
their sick wigwams, helped them all they could, but 
as they entered one of their matted houses, they 
beheld a most sad spectacle, death having smitten 
all but one poor infant, which lay on the ground 
sucking the breast of its dead mother, seeking to 
draw living nourishment from her dead breast. "f 

Sagamore John and his brother James were among 
the victims of this pestilence ; the former of whom 
died at Winisemet, now Chelsea, in December, 1633. 

* Young's Chron. of Mass. p. 386. 

f Wonder-working Providence, cited by Budington, p. 3fi. 


His death is thus noticed in Winthrop's Journal : — 
" 1633, Dec. 5. John Sagamore died of the small-pox, 
and almost all his people; about thirty buried by Mr. 
Maverick of Winisemet in one day. The towns in 
the bay took away many of the children, but most 
of them died soon after. James Sagamore, of Sagus, 
died also, and most of his folks. John Sagamore 
desired to be brought among the English. So he 
agreed and promised, if he recovered, to live with 
the English, and serve their God. He left one son, 
which he disposed to Mr. Wilson, the pastor of Bos- 
ton, to be brought up by him. He gave the Gov- 
ernor a good quantity of wampampeague, and to 
divers others of the English he gave gifts, and took 
order for the payment of his own debts and his 
men's. He died in a persuasion that he should go to 
the Englishmen's God. Divers of them in their 
sickness confessed that the Englishmen's God was a 
good God, and that if they recovered they would 
serve him. It wrought much with them, that when 
their own people forsook them, yet the English came 
daily and ministered to them, and yet few took any 
instructions by it. Among others, Mr. Maverick,^ 
of Winisemet, is worthy of special remembrance; 

* There were two persons of this name in the Colony at this 
date ; Rev. John Maverick, who was one of the first settlers of 
Dorchester in 1630 ; and Samuel Maverick, the date of whose 
arrival is not known, but who was residing at Noddle's Island, 
now East Boston, when the settlement at Charlestown was com- 
menced. It is to the latter that Gov. Winthrop refers. He is 

72 ME310R1AL OF THE 

himself, his wife, and servants went daily to them, 
ministered to their necessities, and buried their dead, 
and took home many of their children. So did 
other of the neighbors. This infectious disease spread 
to Piscataqua, where all the Indians except one or 
two died." 

The history of this " poor Indian " is in itself so 
interesting, especially to the descendants of ances- 
tors who knew him and respected him for many 
acts of kindness, that I will add one more affecting 
notice of the good Sagamore, and of his last mo- 
ments, by the author of '' New England's First 

" Sagamore John, prince of Massaquesers, was 
from our very first landing more corteous, mgenious, 
and to the Enghsh, more loving than others of them; 
he desired to learne and speake our language, and 
loved to imitate us in our behaviour and apparrell, 
and began to hearken after our God, and his wayes, 
and would much commend English men, and their 
God, saying, much good men, much good God, and 

said to have been a man of great hospitality, " giving entertain- 
ment to all comers gratis." The General Court of the Colony 
granted to him Noddle's Island and Winisemet Ferry, on condi- 
tion of his paying to the Governor for the time being, " either a 
fat wether, a fat hog, or JGlO in money," and with the reserva- 
tion of the right to Boston and Charlestown, "to fetch wood 
continually, as their need requires, from the southern part of the 
island." Frothingham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 40. 
* See Frothingham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 37. 


being convinced that our condition and wages were 
better farre than theirs, did resolve and promise to 
leave the Indians, and come live with us ; but yet 
kept down by feare of the scofFes of the Indians, had 
not power to make good his purpose : yet went on 
not without some trouble of mind, and secret plucks 
of conscience, as the sequel declares : for being struck 
with death, fearfully cried out of himselfe that he 
had not come to live with us, to have knowne our 
God better ; ' But now, (said he,) I must die, the 
God of the English is much angry with me and will 
destroy me ; ah, I was afraid of the scoffes of the 
wicked Indians; yet my child shall live with the 
English, and learne to know their God when I am 
dead ; ile give him to Mr. Wilson^ he is a much good 
man, and much loved me ; ' so sent for Mr. Wilson 
to come to him, and committed his only child to his 
care, and so died." 

G. Page QG. 

The instructions of the Massachusetts Company to Gov- 
ernor Endicott and his Council were very explicit in regard 
to the proper line of conduct to be observed by the Colonists 
in dealing with the Indians. 

" If any of the salvages," say the Company in their first 
letter, " pretend right of inheritance to all or any part of 
the lands granted in our patent, we pray you endeavor to 
purchase their title, that we may avoid the least scruple 
of intrusion." And in their second letter they hold this 


language : — " Herewith you shall receive a copy [of the 
first letter] desiring you to take especial care of the per- 
formance and putting in execution of all things material 
therein mentioned, and particularly, amongst others, that 
point concerning publication to be made that no wrong or 
injury be offered by any of our people to the natives there. 
To which purpose we desire you, the Governor, to advise 
with the Council in penning of an effectual edict, upon 
penalty to be inflicted upon such as shall transgress the 
same ; which being done, our desire is, the same may be 
published, to the end that all men may take notice thereof, 
as also that you send a copy thereof unto us by the next 
return of ships." Not satisfied with this, they recur again 
to the subject in the course of the same letter, as follows : — 
" Whereas in our last we advised you to make composition 
with such of the salvages as did pretend any title or lay 
claim to any of the land within the territories granted to us 
by his Majesty's charter, we pray you now be careful and 
discover and find out all such pretenders, and by advice of 
the Council there to make such reasonable composition 
with them as may free us and yourselves from any scruple 
of intrusion ; and to this purpose, if it might be conveniently 
done, to compound and conclude with them all, or as many 
as you can, at one time, not doubting but by your discreet 
ordering of this business, the natives will be willing to treat 
and compound with you upon very easy conditions." * 

The founders of the Plymouth Colony were equally 
scrupulous to observe good faith with the Indians in respect 
to land titles. Governor Josiah VVinslow, in a public 

* Young's Chron. of Mass., pp. 159, 172, 176. 


document issued in 1675, says, " that no lands there had 
been taken up, but by purchase and consent of the natives 
who claimed them." 

H. Page 66. 

Lewis, in that excellent work, the History of Lynn, has 
given so clear, and, at the same time, so concise an ac- 
count of the various tribes of Indians in New England at 
the period of the first English settlements here, — and 
of that " hardy and warlike people," * the Taratines, 
especially, — that I am tempted to quote largely from his 
interesting pages, t 

" There appear," says this historian, " to have been as 
many as seven nations in New England. The ever- 
warring Taratines inhabited the eastern part of Maine, 
beyond the Penobscot river, and their great Sachem was 
Nultonamit. From the Penobscot to the Pascataqua were 
the Chur-Churs, formerly governed by a mighty chief, 
called a Bashaba. The Pawtuckets had a great dominion, 
reaching from the Pascataqua to the river Chaises, and ex- 
tending north as far as Concord, on the Merrimac. Their 
name is preserved in Pawtucket Falls, at Lowell. They 
were governed by Nanepashemet, who sometimes resided 
at Lynn ; and according to Gookin, could raise three 
thousand warriors. The Massachusetts, so named from 

* Gorges, cited by Frothingham. Hist, of Charlestown, p. 33. 
t See pp. 45, 46. 


the Blue Hills at Milton,* were governed by Chickataubut, 
who also commanded three thousand men. His dominion 
was bounded on the north and west by Charles River, and 
on the south extended to Weymouth and Canton. The 
Wamapanoags occupied the south-eastern part of Massa- 
chusetts, from Cape Cod to Narraganset Bay. They were 
ruled by Massasoit, whose chief residence was at Poka- 
noket, now Bristol, in Rhode Island. He was a Sachem 
of great power, having dominion over thirty-two tribes, 
and could have brought three thousand warriors into the 
field by a word ; yet he was a man of peace, and a friend 
to the English, and during all the provocations and dis- 
turbances of that early period, he governed his nation in 
tranquillity for more than forty years, leaving an example of 
wisdom to future ages. The Narragensets, on the west of 
Narraganset Bay, in Rhode Island, numbered five thousand 
warriors, and were governed by two Sachems, Canonicus, 
and his nephew, Miantonomo, who ruled together in har- 
mony. The Pequots occupied Connecticut,, and were 
governed by Sassacus, a name of terror, who commanded 
four thousand fighting men, and whose residence was at 
New London. Beside this there were the Nipmucks, in 
the interior of Massachusetts, who had no great Sachem, 
but united with the other nations in their wars according to 
their inclination. The Pequots and the Taratines were 
ever at war with some of the other nations, and were the 
Goths and Vandals of New England. 

" The Indians were very numerous, until they were 

* Cotton, in his Vocabulary of the Massachusetts language, 
gives the following definition: " Massa-chusett — a hill in the 
form of an arrow's head." See Young's Chron. of Plym., p 224. 


reduced by a great war and by a devastating sickness. 
All the early voyagers speak of ' multitudes ' and ' count- 
less multitudes.' Smith, who took his survey in 1614, 
passing along the shore in a little boat, says, ' The seacoast 
as you pass, shows you all along, large corne fields, and 
great troupes of well proportioned people ; ' and adds, 
that there were three thousand on the islands in Boston har- 
bor. Gookin has enumerated eighteen thousand warriors 
in five nations, and if the remainder were as populous, 
there must have been twenty-five thousand fighting men, 
and at least one hundred thousand people in New England. 
In the spring of 1615, some provocation was given by the 
western Indians to the Taratines, who, with a vindictive 
spirit, resolved upon retaliation ; and they carried their 
revenge to an extent scarcely paralleled in the dreadful 
history of human warfare. They killed the great Bashaba 
of Penobscot, murdered his women and children, and over- 
ran the whole country from Penobscot to the Blue Hills. 
Their death word was Cram ! Cram ! — kill ! kill — and 
so effectually did they ' suit the action to the word,' and so 
many thousand did they slaughter, that, as Gorges says, it 
was 'horrible to be spoken of ! ' In 1617, commenced a 
great sickness, which some have supposed was the plague, 
others the small-pox, or yellow fever ; but I have no doubt 
it arose from the putrefaction of the unburied dead. This 
sickness made such dreadful devastation among those 
whom the tomahawk had not reached, that when the 
English arrived, the land was literally covered with human 
bones. Still the vengeance of the Taratines was unsa- 
tiated, and we find them hunting for the lives of the few 
Sagamores who remained ! " 


NOTE X. Page 18. 

The stranger was the youngest in a triple band, 
That parting sad from Albion's southern* strand, 
Thrice must repeat the long and last farewell. 
As fade the scenes where home's loved inmates dwell. 

William Sprague was the youngest of three broth- 
ers,— Ralph, Richard, and William, — who arrived 
at Salem in 1629,* and in the summer of that year, 
removed to Charlestown, then called Mishawum by 
the natives, where they with a few others were the 
first to form an English settlement.! 

William Sprague was also the youngest of the 
family of Edward Sprague, who resided at Upway, 
in the County of Dorset, England, and who died 
there in October, 1614, leaving six children, and 
a widow named Christian. I have intimated in the 
last two lines above quoted from the poem, that 
three of this family — referring to two brothers and 

* See under I. 

f They found at Mishawum one solitary English abode, the 
" palisadoed and thatched house " of Thomas Walford, a smith. 
How or when he came there is not known. There is the same 
mystery in regard to Blackstone, Maverick, and Thompson, each 
of whom at this period, was leading the same hermit-like life ; the 
first at Shawmut or Boston, the second at Noddle's Island, now 
East .*?oston, and the last on another island in Boston harbor, 
since known by his name as Thompson's Island. See Charles- 
town Records; Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. p. 53 ; Frothing- 
ham's Hist, of Charlestown, pp. 23, 24, 40, 45. 


a sister — were living in England on the family- 
estate, when the three other brothers emigrated to 
this country. There is, however, no positive evi- 
dence on this point.* 

These brothers and their associates made their 
journey from Salem to Mishawum " through the 
woods; " and at that period, " all the country round 
about was an uncouth wilderness." Mishawum 
was "a neck of land" lying on the north side of 
Charles River, " generally full of stately timber," 
and " full of Indians." f The good Sagamore, of 
whom some account has been given in the preceding 
note, extended a hearty welcome to the adventurers ; 
and they proceeded not long afterwards, under the 
direction of Mr. Graves, a skilful engineer in the 
service of the Massachusetts company, " to model and 
lay out the form of the town with streets about the 
Hill." Ere long the work of building was com- 
menced. But their habitations, probably, were little 
more than rude booths ; for early in the summer of 
the following year, 1630, when Roger Clap arrived 
at Charlestown, he found, as he says, only "some 
wigwams and one house." % He dignified with the 
latter title, it is presumed, what was called the 
"Great house," which Mr. Graves and his work- 

* See under J. 

f The mouth of Charles River was the common rendezvous 
of tlie Indians in this region. Frothingham's Hist, of Charles- 
town, p. 32. 

X Roger Clap's Memoirs in Young's Chron. of Mass. p. 349. 


men had been busily engaged in erecting and pre- 
paring for the reception of Governor Winthrop, who 
was shortly expected. 

Winthrop arrived at Salem in June, 1630. He 
"found the Colony in a sad and unexpected condi- 
tion."* No less than eighty had died during the 
winter, and those that survived could hardly procure 
the means of subsistence, " all the corn and bread 
amongst them all (being) hardly sufficient to feed 
them a fortnight." 

In July following the Governor removed to Charles- 
town, where he " and several of the patentees dwelt 
in the Great house last year built by Mr. Graves." 
The colonists here were in the same condition as 
those at Salem. They had suffered exceedingly 
during the winter, and in the spring the Indians "all 
round about," had entered into a conspiracy to cut 
them off in common with all the English in New Eng- 
land. But the faithful John Sagamore revealed the 
plot to his new friends at Charlestown ; and the 
whole strength of the little band was immediately 
put in requisition to provide some means of defence 
and security. " All hands, of men, women, and 
children, wrought at digging and building," f until a 
fort was completed on the Town Hill. But the 
" great guns at Salem " struck terror into the hearts 
of the natives ; and "all their companies scattered 

* Dudley's letter to the Countess of Lincoln, in Young's Chron. 
of Mass. p. 311. 

f Charlestown Records. 


and ran away." The warning, however, was not 
lost upon the Colonists, for they felt themselves " con- 
strained by their conspiracies to be yearly in arms." 
Many of Winthrop's company who came to 
Charlestown, were sick with scurvy on their arrival, 
and other distempers soon broke out among them ; 
so that " the whole were not able to tend the sick, 
as they should be tended, upon which many per- 
ished, and were buried about the Town Hill."* In 
addition to the terrors of pestilence, famine threatened 
to destroy them. " Oh, the hunger that many suf- 
fered," says Roger Clap, " and saw no hope in an 
eye of reason to be supplied, only by clams, muscles, 
and fish!" And another v\atness states, that ''almost 
in every family, lamentation, mourning, and woe 
were heard, and no fresh food to cherish them."f 
Nevertheless, they "went on with their work for 

* Human bones have been dug up in various places upon this 
Hill. Some were found here so recently as 1845, in digging a 
cellar for some stores in the square. They were undoubtedly the 
remains of persons who perished at the period referred to in the 
text. See Frothingham, p. 48. 

f " In their extremities 'twas marvellous to see how helpful 
these good people were to one another, following the example 
of their most liberal governor, Winthrop, who made an equal 
distribution of what he had in his own stores among the poor, 
talcing no thought for the morroiv. And how content they w^ere ! 
when an honest man, as I have heard, inviting his friends to a 
dish of dams, at the table gave thanks to Heaven, who had 
given them to suck the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures 
hid in the sands .'^^ Mather's Magnalia, vol. i. p. 72. 


settling." " In order to which," — mark what these 
founders of a new State considered to be the chief 
corner-stone of their edifice, — " they, with Mr. John 
Wilson, one of the ministers, did gather a church, 
and chose the said Mr. Wilson pastor." Their 
''meeting-place," says Clap, " was abroad under a 
tree, where I have heard Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phil- 
hps preach many a good sermon." Well might this 
honest and pious chronicler add, in writing to those 
who in aftertimes had entered into the fruijts of so 
great toils and sufferings, — "In those days God did 
cause his people to trust in him, and to be contented 
with mean things. You have better food and rai- 
ment than was in former times, but have you better 
hearts than your forefathers had? " 

Of such scenes of hardship in the early settlement 
of New England, Ralph Sprague, and his brothers, 
Richard and William, were frequent witnesses, and 
in most of the distresses of the times, doubtless, they 
deeply participated. It is to be regretted that so lit- 
tle record is left of their individual history. Enough 
is known, however, to justify fully the remark of 
President Everett, that " they were persons of char- 
acter, substance, and enterprise; excellent citizens, 
and generous public benefactors." * 

Ralph Sp'rague was the oldest of these brothers, 
and the oldest of the family. He was probably 
about twenty-nine years of age at the time he emi- 

^ Orations, p. 210. 


grated.* According to the Massachusetts Colony 
Records, he took the freeman's oath in May, 1630, 
and was appointed Constable of Charlestown in 
October following. His name and that of his wife, 
Joanna, are found in the list of members of the first 
church, as among those ." who did enter into the 
covenant first " in 1632. f I find his name first men- 
tioned in the Charlestown Records under date of 
April, 18th, 1634, when he was commissioned, with 
two others, to advocate certain interests of the town 
before the General Court. February 10th, 1635, he 
was chosen selectman ; and afterwards he was fre- 
quently elected to that office. In November, 1636, he 
was for the first time chosen representative to the Gen- 
eral Court. He filled this important post, subsequent- 
ly, at seven different times. He was styled Sergeant 
in the Records in 1635, and Lieutenant in 1637, and 
ever afterwards. In the last named year he was a 
member of the Boston Artillery Company. In 1639 
the General Court granted him one hundred acres of 

* I conclude that he was not far from twenty-nine years old at 
this date, from the fact stated by Budington, (Hist, of First 
Church, p. 33,) that Ralph's brother Richard died in 1688, at the 
age of sixty-three. It follows that his age in 1629 was twenty- 
four, and he being the fourth child of the family — as is shown by 
his father's will, of which a copy will be found in this volume 
under J., — must have been at least five years younger than 
Ralph ; and hence the latter could not have been under twenty- 
nine years old at the date referred to. 

f Budington's Hist, of the First Church, p. 184. Frothing- 
ham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 70. 


land, "having borne difficulties in the beginning." 
His name appears in the Records for the last time 
under date of January Ist, 1649, when he is men- 
tioned as being one of a commission to settle the 
bounds between Mystic and Charlestown. " He 
was," says Frothingham,* " a prominent and valu- 
able citizen, active in promoting the welfare of the 
town and of the colony." He died in 1650 ; leaving 
aAvidow, Joanna, — who afterwards married Edward 
Converse, and died about November, 1680; — four 
sons, John and Richard^ born in England, Samuel^ 
born in 1631, and Phineas. He left also a daughter, 
Mary^ who married Daniel Edmands.f 

RicHARD Sprague was the third son and fourth 
child of Edward Sprague, above-named, and was 
twenty-four years old when he came to New Eng- 
land in 1629. He took the freeman's oath with his 
brother Ralph, in May, 1630. In 1632 he and his 
wife, Mary, subscribed the church covenant. He 
was for several years one of the selectmen of Charles- 
town, and a representative from 1659 to 1666. In 
the Records, the titles of Ensign^ Lieutenant^ and 
Capta'm^ are applied to him at diiferent times. He 
is known to have been a member of the Artillery 
Company of Boston, and Captain of the Charles- 
town Military Company. From this and from the 
affection he seems to have entertained for his sword, 

* Hist, of Charlestown, p. 21. 
f See under K. 


which he bequeathed to his brother Wilham, of 
Hingham, it may be inferred that he had more of a 
mihtary turn than either of his brothers. He died 
November 25th, 1668, at the age of sixty-three.* 
His estate was valued at £2357 I65. Sd. of which 
£600 were in money. He bequeathed to Harvard 
College thirty-one sheep and thirty lambs, and to 
the First Church of Charlestown £30 in value. His 
wharf and warehouse, with other property, he be- 
queathed to his nephew, Richard, son of Ralph. 
But he gave the largest portion of his estate to his 
widow Mary, who died in 1674. He left no chil- 

William Sprague, as has been already stated, was 
the youngest of the three brothers, and the youngest 
of the family. He was probably not far from twenty 
years of age when he came to this country. He 
remained in Charlestown with his brothers until 
1636, when he removed to Hingham, in company 
with his father-in-law, J Anthony Eames. This 
appears from a comparison of the Charlestown and 

* See Buding-ton's Hist, of the First Church, p. 33. 

I Frothingham's Hist, of Charlestown, p. 22. 

X The fact of their relationship, as stated, I have satisfactorily 
ascertained. The two following literal extracts from the Hingham 
Records put it heyond all question. The first refers to a portion 
of the " Salt Marsh atLawford's Liking," and the other to a part 
of the " first meadow in the playne." 

" June 12, 1637. William Sprague is to have two acres and 
halfe of marsh next to Anthony Eames his father lawe to the 


Hingham Records, in the former of which the names 
of WiUiam Sprague and Anthony Eames are found 
for the last time in the Hst of inhabitants, under date 
of January, 1636 ; and in the latter these same indi- 
viduals are mentioned for the first time, in the same 
year, and in immediate proximity to each other, as 
proprietors of lands granted to them by the town of 

By the " catalogue of admissions to full commun- 
ion," as published in Budington's History of the 
First Church of Charles toiun^^ it is shown that 
Millicent Sprague was admitted a member of this 
Church, April 3d, 1635. Further, the baptismal 
record of this Church contains the following entry 
under date of ^^636, 3d mo : day 23," or the 23d of 
May, 1636. 

"Anthony Sprague, the son of William Sprague 
and of Millicent his wife, was Baptised."! 

From these facts, therefore, it may be inferred that 
William Sprague married Millicent Eames early in 
1635, and that his removal to Hingham took place 
in the summer of 1636, when he was about twenty- 
eastward by the same river, and is to have it be more or less as 
it is measured." 

" Jane 12, 1637. WiUiam Sprague is to have one acre next 
to Anthony Eames his father law to the southward by the same 
river be it more or less as it is measured." 

* P. 247. 

f I am indebted for the transcript of this, and other entries in 
the Records of the first Church, to Rev. Mr. Budington, who 
kindly communicated them to me by letter. 


seven years old. Ten years afterwards, in January, 
1646, he was chosen one of the seven selectmen "to 
order the prudential affairs of the town." So far as 
I can learn, he held this office only for that year ; 
though he seems to have been subsequently em- 
ployed — the last time as late as 1672 — on impor- 
tant agencies in behalf of the selectmen, as mention 
is made of debts due to him from that board, " for 
his journey to Marshfield " and "for his journey to 
Plymouth," &c. In 1662 he was constable of Hing- 
ham and collector of the town-rates. And at other 
times he had public duties assigned to him, from the 
nature of which it is plain that he was held in honor 
and esteem by his fellow-townsmen, as a man of 
intelligence and strict integTity. It appears from his 
Will,*^ that he was possessed of a large landed 
estate, and a competency of personal property. He 
died October 26th, J 675, at about the age of sixty- 
six. His wife Millicent, or Mellesaint, survived him 
till February 8th, 1696. They had eleven children,! 
of whom eight were living at the time of their 
father's death. 

* See under L. The fac-similes of William Sprag-ue's auto- 
graph, and of his wife's mark, in acknowledgment of her name, 
are given in Fig. 3, of the folded plate. They were taken from 
their signatures to an Old Deed, dated February 21st, 1673, now 
in the possession of Leavitt Sprague, Esq., of Hingham, to 
whom I am greatly indebted for the loan of that document, as 
well as for other favors having reference to the objects of this 

I See under M. 


I. Page 78. 

It has been commonly supposed that Ralph, E.ichard, 
and William Sprague came over with Endicott, who ar- 
rived at Salem, September 6th, 1628. But President 
Everett * and Dr. Young t are inchned to the opinion — 
and, as I think, with sufficient reason — that these brothers 
were not of Endicott's company. The latter suggests, as 
more probable, that they came the next year in the fleet 
which brought Higginson, Graves and Bright. The evi- 
dence, so far as it goes, certainly favors this view. The 
only direct authority on the point at issue, is to be found 
in the Charlestown Records, the following extract from the 
introductory pages of which, embraces all that may have 
a bearing on the question. | 

* Orations, pp. 210, 211. 

t Chron. Mass. pp. 31, 152. 

J The earliest Records of Charlestown, up to 1662, were 
copied by John Greene in 1664, from original documents not now 
extant. The first volume of these Records opens with an intro- 
duction relating chiefly to the history of the early settlements in 
New England, " most whereof," say the selectmen in an order 
approving this introduction, "is gathered by information of 
known gentlemen that lived and were actors in those times." It 
is, then, merely a digest from the traditions of the times, pre- 
pared more than thirty years after the events therein recorded 
took place. Errors in dates would be very likely to creep into 
such a document — as it appears they have into this — but for the 
main facts and the general sequence of events, its authority per- 
haps is sufficient. I take the extract in the text from Young's 
Chronicles of Massachusetts, where the introductory part of the 
Charlestown Records may be found entire ; pp. 371-387. See 
also Frothingham, pp. 2, 12 ; and Budington, pp. 171 - 174. 



"Captain John Smith, having (in the reign of our 
sovereign lord, James, by the grace of God, King of Eng- 
land, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the 
Faith,) made a discovery of some parts of America, 
lighted, amongst other places, upon the opening betwixt 
Cape Cod and Cape Ann, situate and lying in 315 degrees 
of longitude, and 42 degrees 20 minutes of north latitude ; 
where, by sounding and making up, he fell in amongst 
the islands, and advanced up into Massachusetts Bay, till 
he came up into the river between Mishawum (afterwards 
called Charlestown) and Shawmutt (afterwards called 
Boston ;) and having made discovery of the land, rivers, 
coves, and creeks in the said Bay, and also taken some 
observations of the natures, dispositions, and sundry cus- 
toms of the numerous Indians, or natives, inhabiting the 
same, he returned to England ; * where it was reported, 
that upon his arrival, he presented a map of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay to the King, and that the Prince (afterwards 
King Charles the First) upon inquiry and perusal of the 
aforesaid river, and the situation thereof upon the map, 
appointed it to be called Charles river. 

" Now upon the fame that went abroad of the place, 
both in England and Holland, several persons of quality 
sent over some at their own cost, who planted this country 
in several parts ; but for want of judgment, care, and 

* " Captain Smith, in the summer of 1614, ranged along the 
coast of New England, in a small boat, with eight or nine men, 
from the Penobscot to Cape Cod, and in 1616 published his de- 
scription of New England, which is reprinted in Mass. Hist. 
Coll., xxvi. 95 - 140. The map is prefixed to vol. xxiii. of the 
same collections." — Young. 



orderly living, divers died. Others, meeting with many- 
hazards, hardships, and wants, at length being reduced to 
great penury and extremity, were so tired out, that they 
took all opportunities of returning to England ; upon which 
several places were altogether deserted, and left.* Only 
some few that, upon a better principle, transported them- 
selves from England and Holland, came and settled their 
plantation a little within Cape Cod, and called the same 
Plymouth, notwithstanding all their wants, hazards, and 
sufferings, continued several years in a manner alone ; at 
which time this country was generally called by the name 
of New England. 

" At length, divers gentlemen and merchants of London 
obtained a patent and charter for the Massachusetts Bay, 
from our sovereign lord King Charles the First, gave invi- 
tation to [such] as would transport themselves from Old 
England to New England to go and possess the same ; 
and for their encouragement, the said patentees, at their 
own cost, sent over a company of servants under the gov- 
ernment of Mr. John Endicott ; who, arriving within this 
Bay, settled the first Plantation of this jurisdiction, called 
Salem ; under whose wing there were a i^ew also that [did] 
settle and plant up and down, scattering in several places 
of the Bay ; where, though they met with the dangers, 
difficulties, and [wants] attending new plantations in a 

* " These abortive attempts to plant colonies in New England, 
were, (1.) The Plymouth Company's, in 1607, near the mouth of 
the Kennebec; (2.) Weston's, at Wessagusset, (Weymouth) in 
1622 ; (3 ) Robert Gorges', at the same place, in 1623 ; (4.) David 
Thomson's, at the mouth of the Piscataqua in 1G23 ; and (5.) 
Captain Wollaston's, at Quincy, in 1625." — Yomig's Chron. 
Mass. p. 21. 


solitary wilderness, and so far remote from their native 
country, yet were they not long without company ; for in 
the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty- 
eight, came over from England several people at their 
own charge, and arrived at Salem. After which, people 
came over yearly in great numbers ; in [torn off] years 
many hundreds arrived, and settled not only in Massachu- 
setts Bay, but did suddenly spread themselves into other 
colonies also. 

" Amongst others that arrived at Salem at their own 
cost, were Ralph Sprague, with his brethren, Richard and 
William, who, with three or four more, by joint consent 
and approbation of Mr. John Endicott, Governor, did, the 
same summer of anno 1628, undertake a journey from 
Salem, and travelled the woods above twelve miles to the 
westward, and lighted of a place situate and lying on the 
north side of Charles river, full of Indians, called Aber- 
ginians. Their old Sachem being dead, his eldest son, by 
the English called John Sagamore, was their chief, and a 
man naturally of a gentle and good disposition ; by whose 
free consent they settled about the hill of the same place, 
by the said natives called Mishawum ; where they found 
but one English palisadoed and thatched house, wherein 
lived Thomas Walford, a smith, situate on the south end 
of the westernmost hill of the East Field, a little way up 
from Charles river's side ; and upon surveying, they found 
it was a neck of land, generally full of stately timber, as 
was the main, and the land lying on the east side of the 
river called Mistick river (from the farm Mr. Craddock's 
servants had planted, called Mistick, which this river led 
up unto ; ) and indeed generally all the country round 
about was an uncouth wilderness, full of timber. 


" The inhabitants that first settled in this place, and 
brought it into the denomination of an English town, 
were in anno 1628 as follows, viz. : Ralph Sprague ; Rich- 
ard Sprague ; William Sprague ; John Meech ; Simon 
Hoyte ; Abraham Palmer ; Walter Palmer ; Nicholas 
Stowers ; John Stickline ; Thomas Walford, smith, that 
lived here alone before ; Mr. [blank] Graves, who had 
charge of some of the servants of the Company of Pa- 
tentees, with whom he built the great house this year, for 
such of the said Company as are shortly to come over, 
which afterwards became the meeting-house ; and Mr. 
[blank] Bright, minister to the Company's servants. 

" By whom it was jointly agreed and concluded, that 
this place on the north side of Charles river, by the na- 
tives called Mishawum, shall henceforth, from the name 
of the river, be called Charlestown ; which was also con- 
firmed by Mr. Endicott, Governor. 

" It is jointly agreed and concluded by the inhabitants 
of this town, that Mr. [blank] Graves do model and lay 
out the form of the town, with streets about the Hill ; 
which was accordingly done and approved of by the Gov- 

" It is jointly agreed and concluded, that each inhabi- 
tant have a two acre lot to plant upon, and all to fence in 
common ; which was accordingly by Mr. [blank] Graves 
measured out unto them. 

" Upon which, Ralph Sprague and others began to 
build their houses and to prepare fencing for their lots, 
which was afterwards set up almost in a semi-circular * 
form on the south and south-east side of that field laid out 

* " Hence the street on which these houses were built is called 
Bow street."— Young. 


to them, which lies situate on the north-west side of the 
Town Hill. 

" Walter Palmer, and one or two more shortly after 
began to build in a straight line upon their two acre lots 
on the east side of the Town Hill, and set up a slight 
fence in common, that ran up to Thomas Walford's fence ; 
and this was the beginning of the East Field. 

" In the months of June and July, 1629, arrived at this 
town, John Winthrop, Esq., Governor, Sir E-ichard Sal- 
tonstall. Knight, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Dudley, Mr. Ludlow, 
Mr. Nowell, Mr. Pincheon, Mr. Broadstreet ; who brought 
along with them the charter or patent for this jurisdiction 
of the Massachusetts Bay ; with them also arrived Mr. 
John Wilson and Mr. [blank] Phillips, ministers, and a 
multitude of people, amounting to about fifteen hundred, 
brought over from England in twelve ships. The Gover- 
nor and several of the Patentees dwelt in the great house, 
which was last year built in this town by Mr. Graves and 
the rest of their servants." 

The first remark to be made in regard to this extract is, 
that the date of Winthrop's arrival, as stated in the last 
paragraph, is clearly erroneous. Every other authority 
assigning 1630 as the true date of that event.* The 
statement, too, that Mr. Graves and Mr. Bright were among 
the inhabitants of Charlestown in 1G28, is incorrect, it 
being well established that they did not come to New 
England before June, lG29.t Now these errors being 

* See the Company's Records in Young's Chron. of Mass., and 

t See Frothingham, pp. 18, 19; Prince, p. 261; Young's 
Chron. of Mass. pp. 53, 56-59, 144, 152, 216. 


apparent and admitted, the presumption is, that the date 
previously assigned in this record for the arrival of the 
Spragues, and their journey from Salem to Charlestown 
should have been 1629 instead of 1628. Other consider- 
ations confirm this supposition. 

The record, it will be observed, says expressly that 
those who came with Endicott came at the cost of the 
pateritees. But it also states, quite as explicitly, that the 
Spragues came at their own cost. * It follows that they 
were not of Endicott's company. 

And the order in which events are mentioned in the 
record indicates clearly that the arrival of these brothers 
was subsequent to that of Endicott. It is said first, that 
" under his wing, there were a few that settle and plant 
■" up and down scattering in several places of the Bay," 
and, then, that all these " met with dangers and difficul- 
ties," but that " they were not long without company," 
" for," as the account goes on to say, " several other 
people came over from England at their oion charge^ and 
arrived at Salem." And immediately afterwards it is 
asserted, that " amongst others that arrived at Salem at 
their own cost., were Ralph Sprague, with his brethren 
Richard and William." It is a fair inference, certainly, 
from the sequence of these passages, that the Spragues 

* In the Company's second letter to Endicott, mention is made 
of a class of settlers who were " no adventurers, coming in per- 
son at their own charge." That is, they took no share, or ad- 
ventured nothing in the Company's stock ; nor were they in the 
service of any of the stockholders, but came over in the Com- 
pany's ships at their own risk and expense. Chron. of Mass. 
p. 174. 


were neither of Endicott's company, nor of those who 
" under his wing " were the first to " settle and plant in 
several places of the Bay ; " but that they were among 
those who came over afterwards. 

The Abigail, which brought the emigrants under Endi- 
cott, was the only vessel sent over by the Massachusetts 
Company in 1628. So that, as Frothingham has re- 
marked,* if the Spragues did not come with Endicott, 
and unless they came in a private vessel — which I think 
is not probable — they could not have arrived in this coun- 
try before June or July, 1629. In the spring of the last- 
named year, no less then six vessels were despatched by 
the Company with emigrants.t The first of these that ar- 
rived was the George (June 22d,) which set sail before 
the rest, " having some special and urgent cause of has- 
tening her passage." This vessel was thus hastened, 
because she carried a letter of instruction from the Com- 
pany to Endicott, in which he is urged to " send forty or 
fifty persons to Massachusetts Bay| to inhabit there," 
and earnestly entreated " not to protract, but to do it with 
all speed." The object of the Company was to anticipate 
Oldham in the settlement of this territory, which he 
claimed through a lease from John Gorges. 

Endicott, of course, when this letter reached him would 
have complied immediately with its directions. But on the 

* Hist, of Charlestown, p. 14. 

f Chron. of Mass. p. 154. 

J By " Massachusetts Bay," was understood at that time only 
the territory bordering on Boston harbor, from Nahant to Point 
Alderton, Naumkeag was not included in it. Young, note to the 
Company's letter, in Chron of Mass. p. 150. 


supposition of the correctness of the statement in the 
Charlestown Records, that the settlement of that place was 
commenced in 1628, it is difficult to assign a satisfactory 
reason for the undertaking at that early date. Endicott 
did not arrive till the middle of September ;* and it is not 
probable that any of his company would have looked 
further, so late in the season, than to establish comfortable 
quarters at Salem. It is stated in the account above 
quoted, that the journey of the Spragues was made in " the 
same summer of anno, 1628." This cannot be literally 
true, for even if they came with Endicott, the summer was 
over, as we have just seen, before they arrived. 

Higginson, who wrote an account of New England t 
soon after his arrival early in the summer of 1629, alludes 
to the settlement at Charlestown as if it were just begun. 
His language is : 

" There are in all of us, both old and new planters, 
about three hundred, whereof two hundred of them are 
settled at Nehum-kek,now called Salem, and the rest have 
planted themselves at Masathulets Bay, beginning to build 
a town there, which we do call Cherton or Charles town." 

And Danforth's Almanac — which takes precedence in 
authority of the Charlestown Records, its entries having 
been made in 1647 — places the foundation of that town 
in 16294 

It has been already stated that Roger Clap, who arrived 
at Charlestown early in the summer of 1630, saw only one 

* September Gth, old style, or the 16th, according to our mode 
of reckoning. 

f Printed entire in Young's Chron. of Mass. pp. 242 -259. 
J Frothingham's Hist of Charlestown, p. 19. 


habitation which he thought fit to call a house. This would 
indicate, at least, that no great progress had been made in 
the settlement of the place even so late as the period just 
preceding the arrival of Winthrop. 

I am thus led, by a careful collation of all the facts, to 
adopt the conclusion of Dr. Young, that Ralph Sprague and 
his brothers, Richard and William, probably took passage 
in one of the vessels o 
the summer of 1629. 

J. Page 79. 

All the information we have of Edward Sprague, and 
those of his family who remained in England, is derived 
from his Will, which was found among the papers 
of Captain William Sprague, of Leicester, who died in 
1832.* It is printed in the second edition of Hosea 
Sprague's Genealogy of the Spragues in Hingham, t with 
the inventory of the testator's personal estate, amounting to 

* Captain William Sprague, of Leicester, was the son of Joseph 
Sprague, who removed from Maiden to Leicester. The name of 
his grandfather was William, and that of his great-grandfather, 
Edward. [Genealogy of the Spragues in Hingham.] 

f I am so much indebted to this work that I am sorry to be 
obliged in candor to say, that — except in those parts of it which 
are copied from Records or other documents — its statements 
cannot be implicitly relied on. The author himself left many 
manuscript erasures and corrections of what he had printed, in a 
copy of the book which was kindly loaned to me by his kinsman, 
Leavitt Sprague, Esq., of Hingham, and from which I have 
transferred the author's emendations into the copy that 1 possess. 


<£25S Gs , and the Register's record of proof ; the latter in 
Latin. The author of the book, just referred to, obtained 
this old and precious document from Mr. Thomas Edmands, 
son-in-law of Captain Sprague, above named, and a de- 
scendant from Daniel Edmands, v/ho married Mary, the 
only daughter of Ralph Sprague. The Will certainly 
deserves the little additional chance of preservation it may 
derive from being transcribed into pages. The 
following is an exact copy of it as I find it in the work of 
Hosea Sprague : 

" The Vlth day of June in the year of our Lord God 
1614. In the name of God, Amen. I, Edward Sprague 
of Upway in the County of Dorset, fuller, being sick and 
weak of body, but well and perfect in mind, thanks be 
given unto Almighty God, do ordain and appoint this my 
last Will and Testament, to be made in manner and form 
following. That is to say, first of all, I do bequeath my 
soul unto Almighty God, my savior and redeemer, and my 
body to be buried within the church yard. As for such 
temporal goods as God hath blessed me withal, I give and 
bequeath as hereafter follows : viz., I give unto the parish 
church of Upway ten shillings. Item — I give unto the poor 
of the said parish of Upway ten shillings. Item — I give 
unto Ralph Sprague my eldest son one of the oldest pair of 
shears in my shop and one lesser pair called the quarrell. 
Item — I give and bequeath unto my oldest daughter Alice 
Sprague fifty pounds, to be paid within one year after 
my decease. Item — I give and bequeath unto Edward 
Sprague my second son, two pair of shears and twenty 
pounds to be paid likewise within one year after my 
decease. Item — I give and bequeath unto Richard 
Sprague my third son twenty pounds, to be paid when he 


shall be one and twenty years of age. Item — I give and 
bequeath unto Christopher Sprague my fourth son twenty 
pounds to be paid when he shall be of the age of one and 
twenty years. Item — I give and bequeath unto William 
Sprague my youngest son twenty pounds to be paid when 
he shall be of the age of one and twenty years. All the 
rest of my goods moveable and unmoveable I give and be- 
queath unto Christian Sprague my wife whom I do make 
my whole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament, 
Memorand : that if Richard Sprague, Christopher Sprague 
or William Sprague shall happen to die either of them 
before they shall be of the age of one and twenty years, 
that then his legacy to be diviaed between the other two, 
or if two of them shall happen to die before they shall 
be of the age of one and twenty years, that then their 
legacies to remain to the other then living. Finally^ I do 
appoint Henry Samweys and Wilia Bryar overseers of this 
my Will and Testament, in the presence of those whose 
names are underwritten — John Bishoppe, — John Taylor, 
Ids mark. Memorand : — that whereas, the living of the 
aforesaid Edward Sprague doth fall unto his son Ralph 
Sprague after his decease, the said Ralph Sprague doth 
upon his father's request promise that his mother Christian 
Sprague shall quietly enjoy the said living until he shall 
be one and twenty years of age." 

It appears from this Will that Edward Sprague had six 
children, five sons and one daughter ; and that Ralph, the 
eldest, was under twenty-one years of age on the 6th of 
June, 1614. The Will was approved^ according to the 
accompanying record of the Register, Edmund Woodhall, 
on the 3d Oct. 1614 ; and hence it is probable that the 
testator died a short time previous. 


K. Page 84. 

Of the sons of Ralph Sprague, John probably removed 
to Maiden, as I find his name in the Charlestown Records 
among the signers of a petition from the inhabitants of 
Maiden to the town of Charlestown in 1654. It appears 
from his brother Richard's will,* that he died before 1703, 
and that five of his sons were living at that date. 

Richard^ the second son of Ralph, was a very distin- 
guished and highly esteemed citizen of Charlestown. He 
was one of the Selectmen of that town fourteen years, 
the last time in 1700, when he was seventy-five years 
old ; and he was Chairman of that Board four years. He 
represented the town in the General Court in 1681, and 
frequently afterwards, and held other ofhces of civil trust 
at various times. He was also a military officer, and bore 
the title of Captain, as his uncle, Richard, had done before 
him. In this capacity he assisted, with his company, in 
the revolutionary proceedings which took place in Boston 
on the 18th of April, 1689, when Sir Edmund Andros 
and some of his friends were seized and imprisoned. But 
subsequently, in common with some other influential citi- 
zens of Charlestown, he did not approve all the measures 
of the new Government, and his command was in conse- 
quence taken from him; as was also the seat which he 
then held in the House of Representatives. When, how- 
ever, the excitement of the period was over, and a new 
Charter had been obtained from England, Captain Sprague 

* Budington's History of the first Church, p. 193. 


again held a seat in the General Court, and continued to 
represent the town until his death.* He died in 1703, at 
the age of 78.f The church. Harvard College, the free 
schools and the poor of the town were all indebted to him 
for liberal benefactions. In his will he bequeathed to the 
first church a valuable parsonage and lands, besides c£100 
in money, part of which was to be invested in four silver 
tankards for sacramental use. J To Harvard College he 
gave <£400, and to the free school of Charlestown <£50, in 
money. His house and land adjoining were given first to 
his sister Mary Edmands — to whom he gave also =£500 — 
and after her death to the poor of the town.§ It does not 
appear that he was ever married. 

Samuel, the third son of Ralph, removed to Maiden, 
where he died before 1703, leaving two sons, John and 
Samuel, — the latter born in 1666 — and two daughters, 
Rebecca and Winifred. The former married Ebenezer 
Austin ; and from these ancestors are descended Benjamin 

* Frothingham's Hist, of Charlestown, pp. 223-235. 

I From Sewall's Journal it appears that Captain Sprague's 
funeral, at which the Governor was present, took place Oct. 13, 
1703 ; and that his body was laid in the tomb of Rev. Charles 
Morton. [Budington, p. 246 ] 

X These tankards were sold by the Church June 17, 1800. 
The following is a part of the inscription engraved on one of 
them. " This tankard, with three large flagons, were given to 
the Church in Charlestown by Richard Sprague, Esq., — a liberal 
benefactor to the Church and poor of said town, A. D. 1703." 
[Budington, p. 240.] 

^ This house was sold, as appears from the Town Records, to 
Samuel Henley, May 13, 1732. 


Austin of Boston, and Gen. Nathaniel Austin, of Charles- 
town. Winifred married John Dexter. 

The second Samuel above named, grandson of Ralph, 
left three sons, Samuel, John and Richard, and six daugh- 
ters. This Richard left two sons, Joseph and Ebenezer, 
and two daughters, one of whom married Dr. William 
Stearns of Salem, and was the mother of Joseph E. 
Sprague, Esq., now Sheriff of Salem. The latter, having 
always lived with his grandfather Sprague, took his name 
by act of Legislature in 1800.* 

Phincas, the last son of Ralph,f probably removed to 
Maiden, as some of his descendants have lived there for 
three generations. He had a son, Phineas, who was the 
grandfather of John Sprague, Esq., now the highly re- 
spected Treasurer of Maiden. 

The only daughter of Ralph, Marij, married Daniel 
Edmands as before stated. She was probably born in 
1634, as her baptism is recorded on the " 7th month, day 
1 4th "—or September 14th of that year. 

* Letter of J. E Sprague, Esq , in the " Genealogy of the 
Spragues in Hingham, 2d edition." 

t His baptism is thus noted in the Records of the First Church 
of Charlestown : " Phineas Sprague, the son of Ralph Sprague, 
and of Jone his wife was baptized, 1637, 5th mo. day 31st." 
(August 10th, 1G37, N. S.) 


L. Page 87. 

The following is an analysis of William Spragne's 
Will* which bears date October 19th, 1675: — 
He bequeaths to Millesaint Sprague, his wife; — 

1. Ten pounds in money, one cow, and one horse. 

2. Ten pounds per annum, during her life to be paid to 
her by his son William, the summering and wintering of 
one cow and horse, and the use of one half of his dwell- 
ing-house, and of one half of the orchard, according to a 
deed of gift to his son William of his house and several 
lands and commons. 

3. Thirty-five pounds due to him from his son Anthony, 
to be paid five pounds a year till the whole be paid. But 
if his wife, Millesaint, should die bef re the whole is paid, 
then the balance to be distributed equally amongst six of 
his children, viz, Anthony, Samuel, William, Perses, 
(wife of John Doggett) Joanna, (wife of Caleb Church) 
and Mary, wife of Thomas King. 

4. All his household stuff and furniture, linen, woollen 
and utensils of household during her life, and after her 
decease, the same to go to six of his children, as above, 

To his oldest son Anthony^ he bequeaths ; — 

1. His share of the cattle, of the household stufi*, &c., 

after his own decease and that of his wife, as provided in 

other parts of the will. 

* Printed at length in the "Genealogy of the Spragues in 
Hingham," pp. 21-24. 


2 His SWORD,* which was his brother Richard's. 

3. One of his biggest pewter platters. 

4. Twenty shillings in money. 

To his second son John^ he bequeaths ; — 

1. A piece of salt marsh, lying at Lyford's Liking river, 
in Hingham, containing two acres and a half, given to him 
by the town. 

2. His searge suit of apparel. 

These, together with a neck of Upland, called Sprague's 
Island, which he had before given to John, he judges a 
sutTicient portion for him. 

To his third son, Samuel^ he bequeaths ; — 

1. His cloth coat, which was his brother's. 

2. One of his biggest peioter platters. 

To his fifth son Jonathan — the fourth also named Jon- 
athan being dead — he bequeaths ; — 

1. Sixty acres of land, in the township of Providence, 
in New England, lately purchased of John Dexter, during 
his life, and after his decease, to his male heirs, and for 
want of such heirs to the next heirs of the Spragues de- 
scended from him. 

2. His best cloth suit of apparel. 

To his sixth and youngest son, William^ he be- 
queaths ; — 

1 . One feather bed which he used to lodge upon when 
he lived with his fiither. 

2. One of his biggest peioter platters. 

* Bela Sprague. Esq., of Hingham, has in his possession three 
old swords which have come down to him fiom his ancestors, 
but of whose precise history nothing is known. It is probable, 
however, that one of them is the sword referred to in the Will. 


3. Two steers, three years old, and the and one 


The rest of his cattle not before named to be divided 

equally between the six of his children mentioned under 

the bequest to his wife, viz ; Anthony, Samuel, William, 

Perses, Joanna and Mary. 

(Signed) William Sprague (seal.) 

^jj-. ( Daniel Cushinij, Sen. 

Witnesses { ,, , . ^ . v" 
( Matthew Lushmg. 

Sworn to before John Leverett, Esq. Governor. 

M. Page 87. 

In the Genealogy of the Spragiies in Hingham, there is 
an account of the children of William Sprague, and of the 
descendants of his three sons who remained in Hingham, 
namely, Anthony^ John, and William. But from the last 
the line is not continued beyond his children ; and from 
John not beyond the second generation, of which only one 
descendant is given. Through Anthony it is traced to the 
sixth generation from his father. I have condensed and 
re-arranged this portion of the work, with the additions 
and corrections which the author left in manuscript, and 
with such other additions and corrections, in a few in- 
stances, as my researches have enabled me to make. 


Children of William. 

A. 1. Anthony, baptised at Charlestown May 'iSd, 1636 ; 
married in 1664 to Elizabeth Bartlett, daughter of 
Robert Bartlett of Plymouth. Her mother was a 


Warren, grand-daughter of Robert Warren who 
came over in 1623. Anthony's house was burnt by 
the Indians in King Philip's war, April 19th, 1676. 
He died September 3d, 1719, at the age of eighty- 
four. His will is printed at length in the Geneal- 
ogy of the S'pragucs in Hingham. 

B. 2. John, baptised in April, 1638 ; married Elizabeth 

Holbrook, December 13th, 1666. Removed to 
Mendon where he died in 1690. His children, 
mentioned in his will, were John, William, Eben- 
ezer, Elizabeth, Hannah, Millesaint, and Perses. 
He had two sons by the name of John, and two 
by the name of William ; the first of each name 
died in infancy. 

3. Samuel, baptised May 24th, 1640. Removed to 
Marshfield prior to 1664, where he became a very 
prominent and useful citizen. Was Secretary of 
the Old Colony from 1686 until this Colony was 
united with that of Massachusetts in 1692. Was 
great-grandfather of Hon. Seth Sprague of Dux- 
bury. Died in 1610. See a more particular ac- 
count of him in Note XII. 

4. Elizabeth, baptised May 2d, 1641. 

5. Perses, baptised November 12th, 1643 ; married 
John Doggett of Rehoboth. 

6. Joanna, baptised in December, 1644 ; m. Caleb 
Church December 16th, 1667. 

7. Jonathan, born about 1646 ; died in infancy. 

8. Jonathan, born May 28th, 1648. Removed to 
Rhode Island. Left no posterity. 

C. 9. William, baptised July 2d, 1550 ; m. Deborah 

Lane, daughter of Andrew Lane, December 30th, 


1674. One of the Selectmen of Hinj^ham in 
1690, and again in 1699 and 170S. Removed to 
Providence in 1713. Was great-grandfather of 
Capt. Ephraim Sprague of Bridgevvater. 

10. Mary, baptised May 25th, 1652 ; m. Thomas 
King of Scituate. 

11, Hannah, baptised February 26th, 1655; died 
March 31st, 1658. 

Children of Anthony. A. 

1. Anthony, b. Aug. 18th, 1665. Removed to Provi- 


2. Benjamin, baptised June 10th, 1666; died Sept. 

27th, 1690. 

3. John, b. Sept. 30th, 1667 ; d. Oct. 8th, 1690. 

4. Elizabeth, b. Sept 5th, ; d. Oct. Uth, 1690. 

D. 5. Samuel, b. March 8th, 1671. 

6. Sarah, b. May 23d, 1674 ; m. Caleb Bate. 

E. 7. James, b. Jan. 23d, 1677 ; constable in 1720 ; m. 

Elizabeth Fearing, daughter of Israel Fearing, 
in 1702. 

F. 8. Josiah, b. April 23d, 1680 ; m. Elizabeth Wilder, 

May 17lh, 1705; d. March 23d, 1760. Lived 
where Bela Sprague now lives. 

G. 9. Jeremiah, h. July 24th, 1682; m. Priscilla Knight; 

d. March 7th, 1759. 
10. Richard, b. April 10th, 1685. Probably removed 
to Providence. 
H. 11. Matthew,h. March 27th, 1688; m. Sarah Fearing, 
Sept. 13th, 1710; d. June 10th, 1783. 


Children of John. B. 

1. Jolin^ b. July 20Lh, 1669 ; d. Aug. 11th, same year. 

2. John, b. Jan. 20ih, 1676. 

3. William, b. June 13lh, 1679. 

4. Perses, b. June 13th, 1681. 

5. Daniel. 

6. David. 

7. William. 

8. Ebenezer, removed from Hingham. 

9. Elizabeth. 

Children of William. C. 

1. William, b. Dec. 24th, 1675 ; m. Silence Tower, 

April 23d, 1707. 

2. Deborah, b. May 24th, 1678 ; m. James Hobart, 

Dec. 25th, 1750. 

3. Joanna, h.Feh. 15th, 1680; m. Joseph Barnes, 

Jan. 23d, 1749, 

4. Jonathan, b. June 26th, 1686 ; m. Lydia Leavit, 

May 23d, 1712. Removed to Bridge water. 

5. Abiah, b. Jan. 27th, 1688. 

6. John,h. Sept. 13th, 1692. 

7. Benjamin, b. Jan. 3d, 1695. 

8. Silence, b. Sept. 7th, 1708. [By second wife, 

widow Silence Tower.] 

9. William, b. in 1710. Removed to Abington, and 

is the ancestor of the Spragues of that town. 
10. Jedediah, b. March 18th, 1713. 

Children of Samuel. D. 
1. Ruth,h. April 2d, 1718. 
2. Samuel, b. Jan. 19th, 1720. 


Children of James. E. 

1. Elizabeth^ b. Aug. loth, 1704; m. Bartholomew 

Doyle, Jan. 1st, 1728. 

2. A Son, b. Nov. SOlh ; d. Dec. 23d, 1708. 

3. Jerusha, b. Dec. 1st, 1712 ; m. Joshua Tower. 

Children of Josiah. F. 

1. Josiah, b. July 31st, 1706; d. July 23d, 1778. 

Kept school at Cohasset in the winter season, and 

in summer made sleys (weavers' reeds). 
I. 2. Benjamin, b. Nov. 22d, 1707 ; m. Deborah 

Corthell, Dec. 18th, 1735. 
J. 3. Isaac, b. 1709 ; m. Leah Stodder, daughter of 

Simon Stodder, Dec. 15th, 1737; d. Dec. 13th, 


4. Hannah, b. Feb. 26th, 1712 ; d. Oct. 1808. 

5. Ephrai7n,h. Oct. 28\h, 1114; m. Mary Humphrey, 

April 21st, 1774. 
K. 6. Daniel, b. Dec. 21st, 1717; m. Ann Whiton, 
Nov. 9th, 1758. 
7. EHsha, b. Aug. 10th, 1721. 

Children of Jeremiah. G. 

L. 1. K7iight,h. Oct. 12th, 1711 ; m. Mary Lewis, May 
26th, 1735. 

2. Priscilla, b. March 22d, 1713; m. Michael Hatch, 

March 27th, 1733. 
M. 3. Jcrtmiah, b. Dec. 18th, 1714; m. Elizabeth 
Whiton, Dec. 19th, 1739. 

4. Susamiah, b. April 1 1th, 1716 ; m. Caleb Marsh, 

Sept. 17th, 1735. 

5. Mary, b. Feb. 1718. 



N. 6. John, b. March 1st, 1720; m. Margaret Webb, 
May 24th, 1742. 
7. Elizabeth, b. March 10th, 1724 ; m. Nathaniel 
Stodder, Dec. 21st, 1747. 
O. 8. Nehemiah, lived at Great Plain. 
P. 9. Jacob, m. Sarah Stodder, Feb. 18th, 1735. Lived 
at Great Plain. 
10. Deborah, m. James Hobart. 

Children of Matthew. H. 

1. Sarah, b. July 16th, 1717; m. Samuel Gilbert, 

Dec. 25th, 1739. 

2. Margaret, b. Feb. 22d, 1722 ; m. Isaiah Hearsy, 

Dec. 14th, 1743. 

3. Lijdia, b. Oct. 9th, 1723; m. Stephen Stowel, 

Jan. 1st, 1747. 

4. Israel, h. 1718; d. 1730. 

5. Noah, b. Feb. 17th, 1728 ; m. Ann Hatch, Oct. 

9th, 1777. 

Child of David. 

1. Sarah, b. Dec. 14th, 1708. 

Children of Benjamin. I. 

Q. 1. Benjamin, b. Oct. 10th, 1736; m. Stodder. 

2. Elizabeth, b. March 16th, 1737 ; d. 1825. 

3. Joseph, b. Oct. 21st, 1739 ; d. 1S28. 

4. Perses, b. Aug. Uth, 1741; m. Seth Stodder, 

March 13th, 1765. 

5. Asher, b. June 12th, 1743. Went to Sciiuate. 

R. 6. Jesse, b. July 28th, 1745 ; m. Elizabeth Joy, 
Sept. 7th, 1769 ; d. March, 1818. 
7. Deborah, b. June"2Sth, 1747. 


Children of Isaac. J. 

1 . Leah^ b. Nov. 14th, 1738 ; m. Benjamin Jones, 

Nov. 25th, 1761. 

2. Bethia, b. March 2d, 1740; m. Benjamin Joy, 

March 4th, 1762. Was living in Boston in 1828. 

3. Tamar, b. Dec. 9th, 1741 ; m. Joshua Lincoln, 

Dec. 23d, 1763. 
S. 4. Isaac, b. Oct. 2d, 1743 ; m. Hannah Jacob ; d. 

March 16th, 1800. 
5. Rebecca, h. Aug. 18th, 1745 ; m. Josiah Hersey, 

1766. Was living at Passamaquoddy in 1828. 

T. 6. Amos, b. July 21st, 1747; m. Stodder. 

U. 7. Moses, b. April 30ih, 1749 ; d. Oct. 3d, 1828. 

8. Rachel, b. Feb. 2d, 1752. 

9. David, b. May 19th, 1754. 

Children of Daniel. K. 

V. 1. David, b. Jan. 27th, 1760. 
W. 2. Josiah, b. Nov. 5th, 1761. 

Children of Knight. L. 

1. Mary, b. May 27th, 1736; m. John Gross, Aug. 

24th, 1755. 

2. Sarah, b. April 2d, 1738. 

3. Knight, h. May 25fth, 1740; m. Rhoda Marsh, May 

13th, 1767 ; went to Scituate, where he was liv- 
ing in 1828. 

4. Anthony, b. July 4th, 1742 ; removed from Hing- 


5. Olive, h. July 24th, 1744. 

6. Thornas, b. Aug 3d, 1746. 

7. Asa, b. July 24th, 1748. 

8. James, b. March 4th, 1750. 


9. Thomas, b. April 2r)th, 1752. 

10. Cfl/eJ, b. July 2d, 1755. 

11. Lucy, b. Oct. 4lh, 1761. 

Children of Jeremiah. M. 

1. Lijdia, b. Jan. 16lh, 1741 ; d. Feb. 24th, 1741. 

2. Lydia, b. May 7th, 1742. 

3. Susannah, b. Nov. 11th, 1744; m. James Beal, in 


4. Jeremiah, b Oct. 5th, 1746. 

5. Ehed, b. Jan. 8th, 1749. 

6. SAMUEL, b. Dec. 22d, 1753; d. in Boston, June 

20th, 1844.* 

7. Joanna. 

8. Elizabeth, 

9. Miles, b. Feb. 14th, 1762 ; removed from Hing- 


Children of John. N. 

1. Lucy, b. April 17th, 1743 ; m. Knight Sprague, 

Feb. 26th, 1761. 

2. Margaret, b. Dec. 2d, 1744. 

3. Wehb, b. April 10th, 1748. 

4. John, b. Sept. 9th, 1750. 

5. Joseph, b. June 30th, 1754 ; m. Chloe Lane, May 

10th, 1779 ; d. in Boston. 
- 6. Elijah, b. Aug. 13th, 175S. 

7. Thomas, b. June 15th, 1761. 

8. Grace, b Jan. 8th, 1764 ; m. Souther. 

* Father of Charles Sprague, Esq., to whom I am indebted 
for the date at which the " good old man " died. See the beau- 
tiful poem entitled The Brothers, in the writings of his distin- 
guished son. 


Child of Nehemiah. O. 

1. Laban, b. Nov. 18th, 1752. 

Children of Jacob. P. 

1. Mary, b, Sept. 173(j; m. Lewis ; removed 

from Hingham ; d. in 1804. 

2. Jacob, b. June, 1737. In the Revolution went on 

board a privateer with Capt. Hatch ; was taken 
by the British, carried to Halifax, and put on 
board their guard-ship, where he died in 1778. 

3. Rachel, b. July 20ih, 1739 ; d. in 1816. 

4. Priscilla, b. Aug 20th, 1741 ; m. Israel Hersey. 

5. Abigail, b. Aug. 1743 ; m. Bates of Wey- 

mouth ; d. in Hingham in 1806. 

6. Seih, b. Oct. 17th, 1745. 

7. Reuben, b. March 20ih, 1749 ; d. 1822.* 


Children of Benjamin. Q,. 

X. 1. Bela. 3. Perses ; m. Elisha 

2. Rath ; m. Thomas Burr. 

Gushing. 4. Zenas ; died young. 

5. Laban. 

Children of Jesse. R, 

Y. 1. Jesse; lost at sea. 5. Elijah. 

2. Elizabeth. a. 6. Caleb ; d. in 1825 

Z. 3. Srimuel. 7. Deborah. 

4. Thankful 

^ Grandfather of Jacob Sprague, Esq., of Duxbury. 



Children of Isaac. S. 

I.Hannah; m. Ezekiel 6. Hosea ; author of 

Hearsy. the Genealogy of the 

2. Isaac ; died young. Spragues in Hingham. 

3. Leah. 
b. 4. Peter. 
5. Joshua. 

c. 7. Isaac; d. Aug. 26th, 

1826, at the age of 44. 

d. 8. Blossom. 

Children of Amos. T. 

1. Desire. 

2. Amos. 

3. Lucy. 

4. Martin. 

5. Ptrez. 

6. Tamar. 

7. C/i/oe. 

8. Jerome ; went to 

Children of Moses. U. 

1. Moses. 3. Jairus. 

2. Levi; went to North- 4. Mary ; m. Joseph 



Children of David. V. 

f 1. David. 

2. Mattheiv. 

3. Aclnah. 

4. Charles, 

Children of Josiah. W. 

1. Ann. 6. Luther. 

2. Josiah ; went to Maine. 7. Daniel. 

3. Elizabeth. 8. Martin. 

4. Edmond. 9. Leonard. 

5. Marble ; went to Maine. 1 0. Henry. 


Children of Bela. X. 

1 Bela. 3. Name not given, 

2. Sophronia, m. 

Moss of Cohasset. 

Children of Jesse. Y. 

1. Leavitt. 3. Nancy. 

2. Mary. 4. Dehor ah. 

Children of Samuel. Z. 

1. Isaac G. 3. Samuel. 

2. Sarah. 

Children of Caleb, a. 

1. Mehitalle, 4. William. 

2. Caleb. 5. Anthony. 

3. Joseph, 6. Thomas G. 

Children of Peter, b. 

1. Peter. 3. Thomas. 

2. Mary 

Children of Isaac, c. 

1. Isaac. 3. Lincoln. 

2. Rachel. 4. Leah. 

Children of Blossom, d. 

1. Sarah. 4. Joseph. 

2. William. 5. Clarissa. 

3. Hannah. 

Children of Moses, e. 

1. /o/m. 2. Ebed. 


Children of David, f. 

1. Jane. 2. Sidney. 

Judge Mitchell, in his valuable work, the History of 
Bridgewater, h is given a list of some of the descendants of 
Jonathan Sprague, — grandson of the first Anthony, and 
son of William (C.) who went to Providence, — with dates 
of birth and other facts, from which I have prepared the 
following account. 

Children of Jonathan. 

[He married Lydia Leavitt of Hingham in 1712, and 
settled in South Bridgewater.] 

1. Lydia.,h. 1715; m. Solomon Perkins, 1733. 

2. Hannah, b. 1717; m. Solomon Bates. 

3. Jonathan^ h. 1720 ; went to Stafford, Connecticut. 

4. Mary, h. 1722 ; m. Nathan Edson, 1738. 

5. Sarah, b. 1725. 

6. John, h. 1727; m. Susanna Cobb, 1746; had a 

son, John, 1746, and went to Block Island. 

7. Content,}). 1729; m. Howard, of Dartmouth. 

8. Bdfy, b. 1731 ; m Seth Snow, 1749. 

g. 9. Benjamin, b. 1736 ; m. Eunice, daughter of 
Ephraim Holmes, in 1762 ; died of small-pox, 
in 1778. His widow m. Solomon Ames, in 
1781 ; become a widow again, and died in 1833, 
at the age of 92. 

Children of Benjamin, g. 

h. 1. Ephraim, b. 1763 ; m. Vina, daughter of Ezra 

Edson, 1783. 
i. 2. Benjamin, m. Priscilla Churchill, 17S6. 
3. Lydia, b. 1777 ; m. Capt. Asa Pratt, 1799. 


Children of Ephraim. h. 

j. 1. Holmes^ b. 1783 ; m. Betsey, daughter of Daniel 
Copeland, 1808. 

2. Ephraim^ b. 1787 ; m. Jane, daughter of Joseph 

Ames, and went to Bristol, R. 1. 

3. Eunice^ b. 1790; m. Calvin Washburn, 1809. 

4. Vina, b. 1799; d. 1818. 

5. Chloe, b. 1804. 

G. Mira, b. 180ti ; m. John Washburn, and afterwards 
the Hon. John A. Shaw. 

Children of Benjamin, i. 

k. 1. Benjamin, b. 1790; m. Lucy, daughter of Joseph 
Ames, 1818. 

2. Friend, b. 1792. 

3. Lydia, b. 1749 ; m. Barna Lernard, Jr 1815. 

4. George, b. 1801. Went to New York, and thence 

to Florida. 

Children of Holmes, j. 

1. Ephraim Holmes, b. 1809 ; m. Lois, daughter of 

Nathaniel Washburn. 

2. Betsey Copeland, b. 1812. 

3. Edgar, b. 1815. 

4. Caleb Cary, b. 1819. 

Children of Benjamin, k. 

1. Benjamin. 

2. Fisher Ames. 


NOTE XI. Page 19. 

Go, sit thou hy the crystal well, whence he, — 

Our ancestor — last of the honored three — 

On Hinghann's Plain, drew forth the frequent draught. 

It is pretty well established by tradition, that the 
dwelling-house of William Sprague was situated on 
Hingham Plain, near the spot where James S. Lewis, 
Esq., now resides, a few rods eastward from the cor- 
ner of Union and Pleasant streets, and opposite to 
the southern end of Back street. This site is about 
a mile from the old Meeting-house in the village of 
Hingham. There is a well of very pure water here, 
which the same tradition has pointed out as the 
identical fountain that was first opened and used by 
WilHam Sprague, and that has continued to furnish 
its grateful supplies to his descendants and others 
down to the present time. I visited this interesting 
locality in August last in company with Solomon 
Lincoln, Esq., to whose kindness I am greatly in- 
debted for information in regard to the history of the 
Sprague family. The well has certainly the marks 
of antiquity upon its walls, which are pressed from 
their erect position as if by the weight of years. 


NOTE XII. Page 19. 

Now on yon shores a full-orbed light it yields, — 
So fitly titled from their marshy fields. 

Reference is made to the town of Marshfield ; 
which was so named, doubtless, from the most char- 
acteristic feature of its scenery — the immense ex- 
tent of its salt marshes, which cover an area of 
about three thousand acres. Samuel S'prag-ue — son 
of William, and great grandfather of Hon. Seth 
Sprague — removed to this town from Hingham 
prior to 1664, under which date I find his name for 
the first time upon the Marshfield Records, in a list 
of the inhabitants; though the date of his formal 
admission, as a townsman, is a year later, May 22d, 
1665. At this time he was twenty-five years old, 
as he was born in 1640; but it is not improbable 
that he may have gone to Marshfield, before he was 
of age, to live with his grandfather, Anthony Eames, 
who is mentioned as a resident there as early as 1652. 
I am informed by Miss M. A. Thomas — to whose 
kindness in communicating the results of her exten- 
sive antiquarian research I have often to refer — 
that Samuel Sprague was an occupant of the Chil- 
lingworth Estate on South River in 1667.* His 

* This estate lay on the north side of South River, and was 
the identical farm on which Chillingworlh Sprague, son of the 
late Capt. Jonathan Sprague, now resides. At the date referred 
to, the estate was shared between Justus Eames, Dea. John 


wife, Sarah, who survived him, was a daughter of 
Thomas ChiUingworth ; * and from the fact stated 
in the preceding sentence, it would seem that he 
must have married her early in life, though, accord- 
ing to Judge Mitchell, he had lost a wife previously 
by the name of Rebecca, f 

Samuel Sprague is first mentioned in the Marsh- 
field Records as called to act in an official capacity 
under date of April 15th, 1C67, when he was chosen 
surveyor of highways. And every year afterwards 
until his death in 1710 — with the exception of four 
years — he held some important post in the adminis- 
tration of town affairs. Frequently he was charged 
with four or five public trusts at the same time. In- 
deed, during the forty-three years subsequent to 
1667, he was sixty-three times elected by his fellow- 
Foster, and Samuel Sprague. Each of whom married a daugh- 
ter of Thomas ChiUingworth. The name of Eames's wife was 
Mehitable, and that of Foster's, Mary. Capt. Jonathan Sprague, 
above named, was born March 1st, 1744. and died in the s[)ring 
of 1811, at the age of ninety-seven. His father was James 
Sprague, son of Nathan, who was a son of Samuel — the sub- 
ject of our notice. [MS. Letter of Miss Thomas ] 

* This appears from an old deed dated December 1st, ICOO, 
given by Samuel Sprague, and his wife Sarah, to Jolm Sonicrs, 
wherein it is stated that the piece of land then deeded to Somers, 
was a former grant to Thomas ChiUingworth, late of Marshfield, 
deceased ; and that Mrs. Sprague is one of his daughters. This 
deed is witnessed by Stephen Tilden and Samuel Sjirague, Jr. 
[MS. letter of Miss Thomas ] 

f [Letter of Judge Mitchell in the 2d edition of the Genealogy 
of the Spr agues in Hingha/n.] 


townsmen to fill official stations. He was chosen 
assessor of town and county taxes thirteen times, se- 
lectman fifteen times, representative to the General 
Court ten times, and agent or commissioner on some 
special service eighteen times. After 1683 he is 
styled Sergeant in the Records ; from which it 
appears that something of military honor was also 
awarded to him. But it was not only in his own 
town that he was thus distinguished; he acted a 
conspicuous part in the affairs of the Colony. In 
June, 1686, he was chosen "Secretary of the Gen- 
eral Court and Recorder of the Court of Assistants,"* 
and this important office he held — except during the 
interruption of the Government by Androsf — until 
the Colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay 
were united in 1692. He died, as already stated, in 
1710, at the age of seventy, leaving his wife, Sarah, J 

* Old Colony Records. In addition to his other duties, the 
Secretary of the Colony acted as Register of Deeds, and of Wills. 
For proofs of the identity of Secretary Sprague and Samuel 
Sprague of Marshfield, see under N. 

f Sir Edmund Andros, appointed by James II., Governor of 
New England, arrived in Boston, December 20th, 1686. His 
odious administration lasted from this date until the 18th of April, 
1689, when upon a rumor of the flight of James, and of the 
accession of William and Mary to the throne, (February 16th, 
1689,) Andros and some of his friends were seized and impris- 
oned, to be sent to England for trial. 

I Widow Sarah Sprague's will — in which she bequeaths her 
wearing apparel to her beloved daughter Mary — is dated May 



and eight children — four sons and four daugliters.^ 
He had accumulated a large estate in lands, and at 
his death each of his sons was provided with an 
ample farm; one of them, James— supposed to 
have been the youngest — sharing the homestead 
with his mother. Among the items of his personal 
property, valued in the aggregate at £185, are enu- 

Law and military books . . £1 105. 
Divinity and history " . . 2 2. 

Arms and ammunition . . 4 5.f 

The simple facts of his life, as I have given them in 
this brief notice, on the authority of ancient records 
and documents, are proof enough that Samuel 
Sprague of Marshfield was a man eminent for intel- 
lectual ability, sterling integrity, and a most indus- 
trious and persevering spirit. 

14th, 1725. She therein speaks of herself as very aged, and 
in daily expectation of her dissolution. [MS. letter of Miss 

* See a brief account of Samuel Sprague's children under O. 

I MS. memoranda of the late Samuel Davis, for the privi- 
lege of consulting which, I must again acknowledge my indebted- 
ness to his brother, Isaac P. Davis, Esq. 


N. Page 121. 

It is certain that the name of the fourth and last Secre- 
tary of the Old Colony — from 1686 to 1692 — was Sam- 
uel Sprague ; and it has been generally believed that 
Samuel Sprague of Marshfield was the individual referred 
to. But I could find no positive authority for this sup- 
posed identity in any contemporary document ; not even 
in the Old Colony Records, from which the name of the 
last Secretary, and the term of his service, are established 
as above stated. And when, on searching the Marshfield 
Records, in which the name of Samuel Sprague appears 
very frequently after 1688,1 did not find him once alluded 
to under the title of Secretary, I was led seriously to 
doubt the correctness of the common impression that he 
was the individual who held this ofnce ; especially as I 
remembered the statement of Bradford,* that a son of 
Francis Sprague, named Samuel, was Secretary of the 
Colony in 1690. 

I have accordingly examined very carefully all the data 
within my reach bearing upon this point. And although 
no positive testimony yet appears, I think the following 
considerations are suflicient to show, beyond a reasonable 
doubt, that Samuel Sprague of Marshfield was in fact — 
as commonly supposed — the last Secretary of the Old 

1. The period of time between 1686 and 1692 is pre- 

* Notes on Daxbury, Mass Mist Coll., vol. x., 2d series. 


cisely that during which Samuel Sprague, of Marshfield, 
was least burdened with official services in his own town. 

2. He was the only Samuel Sprague in the Colony, 
who would seem to have been old enough at that date to 
hold so important a station. He was born in 1640, and 
was consequently forty-six years of age in 1686. Where- 
as, of the only two other individuals of that name then 
living in the Colony, neither could have been much over 
thirty. One of these was Samuel Sprague, junior, son of 
Samuel, of Marshfield, and the other was a son of John 
Sprague, of Duxbury, and grandson of Francis ; neither 
of whom took any part in town affairs until after 1699. 
The elder Samuel Sprague, of Marshfield, on the contrary, 
was distinguished in public life, at least in his own town, 
long before the date assigned as that when he was ap- 
pointed Secretary of the Colony. 

3. The statement of Bradford is evidently erroneous, as 
it nowhere appears that Francis Sprague had a son by the 
name of Samuel. 

4. The handwriting of Samuel Sprague, senior, of 
Marshfield, bears a close resemblance to that of Secretary 
Sprague.* *' No one" — writes Miss Thomas, who has 
specimens of both — "would hesitate to pronounce them 
the same." 

* The handwriting of Secretary Sprague is shown in the 
similes, figs. No. 1 and No. 2 — which are exact representa- 
tions of original documents. The first is a copy of a warrant, 
now in the possession of Isaac P. Davis, Esq., who very kindly 
loaned it to me ; and the second is taken from a manuscript 
which was presented some time since by Mr. Davis, above- 



1^ ^^f' 


cisely that during which Samuel Sprague, of Marshfield, 
was least burdened with official services in his own town. 

2. He was the only Samuel Sprague in the Colony, 
who would seem to have been old enough at that date to 
hold so important a station. He was born in 1640, and 
was consequently forty-six years of age in 1686. Where- 
as, of the only two other individuals of that name then 
living in the Colony, neither could have been much over 
thirty. One of these was Samuel Sprague, junior, son of 
Samuel, of Marshfield, and the other was a son of John 
Sprague, of Duxbury, and grandson of Francis ; neither 
of whom took any part in town affairs until after 1699. 
The elder Samuel Sprague, of Marshfield, on the contrary, 
was distinguished in public life, at least in his own town, 
long before the date assigned as that when he was ap- 
pointed Secretary of the Colony. 

3. The statement of Bradford is evidently erroneous, as 
it nowhere appears that Francis Sprague had a son by the 
name of Samuel. 

4. The handwrhing of Samuel Sprague, senior, of 
Marshfield, bears a close resemblance to that of Secretary 
Sprague.* "No one" — writes Miss Thomas, who has 
specimens of both — "would hesitate to pronounce them 
the same." 

* The handwriting of Secretary Sprague is shown in the 
similes, figs. No. 1 and No. 2 — which are exact representa- 
tions of original documents. The first is a copy of a warrant, 
now in the possession of Isaac P. Davis, Esq., who very kindly 
loaned it to me ; and the second is taken from a manuscript 
which was presented some time since by Mr. Davis, above- 



1 5""^ !^ |||4 1 



^: V: 


^ -=' I 4. \i ^° ^ »^ =^ 

^ I 







^ ^-^-N 





O. Page 122. 

Samuel Sprague, of Marshfield, left eight children, four 
sons and four daughters. I have not been able to ascer- 
tain their respective ages, and therefore cannot arrange 
them by name in the order of their birth. The sons were 
Samuel, John, Nathan, and James ; and the daughters, 
Sarah, Mary, Joanna, and Hannah. 

Samuel, it is presumed, was the oldest son. He re- 
moved to Duxbury before the death of his father in 1710 ; 
as he was living there on the farm now occupied by his 
grandson, Hon. Seth Sprague, when that event took 

John also removed to Duxbury, where he was living 
on a farm adjoining that of his brother,* above named, at 
the date of his father's death. 

named, to Judge Sprague, to whom I am indebted for the use of 
it. The two are evidently by the same hand. It will be ob- 
served that the writer entitles himself Secretary, in 1686, and 
Cleric, in 1698, from which it would appear that Secretary 
Sprague was in some way connected v/ith the Court at Plymouth 
so late as the year last named. 

* These two farms, which Samuel and John inherited from 
their father, comprised two hundred and thirty acres, and consti- 
tuted what was called Sprague's Neck. This was bounded as 
follows: — beginning at a point near what is now known as 
Sprague's wharf, the boundary ran along the shore to Blue Fish 
river : thence up the river to the neighborhood of John Alden's ; 
thence by land of Jacob Smith to meet a line which ran west- 


Nathan probably remained in Marshfield, as many of 
his descendants are found there. Tiie Christian name of 
his wife was Margaret. A son of theirs, named James, 
was the father of the late Capt. Jonathan Sprague, of 
whom mention has been made in a previous note. Na- 
than is the ancestor of others of the name in Marshfield ; 
and some of his descendants are also living in Maine. 

James, it is probable, was the youngest son, if not the 
youngest child ; as the homestead was left to him and 
his mother. He married Hannah Black. They had a 
son James, who married Sarah Jackson, and a daughter 
Hannah, who married Barnabas Ford. One branch of 
the Spragues in Marshfield traces its descent from James. 

Sarah, the eldest daughter, married Joseph Holmes, of 
Marshfield. They had a son John, who lived in Ply- 

Mary married Nathaniel Williamson. 

Joanna married John Holmes of Marshfield. 

Hannah married John Rogers, junior, of Marshfield, 
December 11th, 1700.* 

ward by the sites of the village School-house and the Methodist 
Church to the house of Daniel Glass. The two farms were 
divided by the road, now called Harrison Street — that on the 
south being occupied by Samuel Sprague, and that on the north 
by his brother John. 

* I find the date of this marriage in the Marshfield Records. 
For my other statements in regard to the children of Samuel 
Sprague, I have the authority of Judga Mitchell's letter in the 
Genealogy of the Spragues in Hingham, of the MS, memor- 
anda of the late Samuel Davis, already referred to, and of com- 
munications from Miss Thomas. 


NOTE XIII. Page 19. 


Now blends with kindred beams where they are found 
In steady radiance on this Pilgrim ground. 

It has just been stated that two sons of Samuel 
Sprague, of Marshfield, Samuel and Jolm^ removed 
to Duxbury, where they are known to have been 
Uving on adjoining farms in 1710, the date of their 
father's death. I find in the Marshfield Records that 
John Sprague was constable of that town in 1 708 ; 
at which date, of course, he must have resided there. 
On the supposition, therefore, that these brothers 
removed to Duxbury at the same time, as is most 
hkely, this event must have occurred in 1709, or 
early in 1710.* 

* There is evidence in the Duxbury Records that these brothers 
were inhabitants of that town as early as June 5th, 1710 ; under 
which date they are named for the first time in a list of those 
persons who had a share in " the last division of the Town's 
commons, upland and meadow." In this list their names are 
introduced as follows : — 

" ye proprietors of ye Farm y' Samuel Sprague Jun'" lives on." 
" ye proprietor of ye Farm w" John Sprague lives on." 

It is plain from the manner in which they are here mentioned, 
that the brothers did not at this date own the farms on which they 
resided. It is probable that their father was the ■proprietor 
alluded to, and that at his death, a short time afterwards, the 
farms came into their possession, as bequests in his will. 


Samuel, grandfather of Hon. Seth Sprague, who 
was the oldest of the two brothers, and probably the 
oldest of his father's four sons, is frequently men- 
tioned in the Duxbury Records as Moderator of Town 
meetings, and grand juryman at the Plymouth Court 
at sundry times from 1729 to 1742.* He married 
Bethia Thomas,-\ at what date is not recorded. 

* See Note V. — Figure 4 is afac-sirnile of Samuel Sprague's 
signature, as T find it affixed to a deed — dated October 8th, 1761, 
— by which he conveys his farm to his sons Samuel Jr., and 
Phineas. From another deed, — dated January 15th, 1740, — 
by which the former of these sons conveys land to the other, is 
obtained the autograph, of which figure 5 is a fac-simile. The 
witnesses to the deed, first referred to, are the brother of Samuel, 
John Sprague, — whose signature is represented in figure 6, — 
and his wife Love Sprague. The fac-simile of Peleg Sprague's 
autograph, as shown in figure 7, is taken from his signature 
to a deed of land from him to his cousin Phineas, dated March 
28th, 1748, — the same from which the signature of one of the 
witnesses, Jethro Sprague, represented in figure 8, is copied. 

f Bethia, wife of Samuel Sprague, Jr., was a daughter of 
Samuel Thomas, and Mercy Ford. The parents of the latter 
were Deacon William Ford, and Sarah Dingley, daughter of 
John Dingley. Samuel Thomas — born in 1655 — was a son of 
John Thomas and Sarah Pitney, who were married in 1648, the 
latter being a daughter of James Pitney, who was admitted a 
freeman at Plymouth in 1643. 

Mrs. William Baker, of Marshficld, now over eighty years of 
age, has a distinct recollection of the wife of Samuel Sprague, 
Jr., as being, when she knew her, a very old person, very pale, 
and severely affected with paralysis. Her sister, Sarah Thomas, 




They had four children, Phineas, Samuel^ Sarah, 
and Bethia.* 

John, brother of Samuel, had five children, three 
sons and two daughters. The family name of his 
wife I have not learned ; her Christian name was 
Love. The sons were John^ Abijak,-f and Peleg; 
and the daughters, Joanna and Rebecca. 

Peleg, above named, was married to Mercy Chand- 
ler, as appears from the Records, on the I8th of 
February, 1746; thus uniting two separate families 
of the same name, if not of the same lineage. For 
she was the great grand-daughter of Francis Sprague, 
her mother ZeniiahX being the daughter of Wil- 
liam Spragne, grandson of Francis. 

Peleg Spragiie died, probably, about the year 
1754, as after this date his name is not found in the 
Records, wherein previously he is three times men- 
tioned as having been elected to town offices, and 

married John Holmes, and was nearly one hundred years old 
when she died. 

The great-grandfather of Miss Marcia A. Thomas, to whom I 
am indebted for the facts just stated, was a brother of Samuel 
Sprague, Jr.'s wife, above named. 

* See under P. 

f See under Q. 

% The birth of Zeruiah Sprague, — December 10th, 1704 — 
and her marriage with Nathaniel Chandler — March 19th, 1724 — 
have been before mentioned, (Note V.) ; as also some particulars 
of her history and character, (Note VII.) 


once as having a debt due to him for "keeping" one 
of the town's poor.* He left two sons, Nathaniel 
and John^ both of whom removed to Maine.f 

Mercy^ the widow of Peleg, by a second marriage, 
became the wife of Phineas Sprague, cousin of her 
first husband. The children of this marriage were 
one son, Scth — now the venerable Patriarch, whom 
his descendants met to honor on the occasion which 
has called forth these notices — and two daughters, 
Mercy and Ruth. The former married John Chand- 
ler, and removed to Maine. Ruth, late in life, mar- 
ried John Burgess, of Plymouth. She died in Au- 
gust, 1845. Her husband and one son, Phineas, 

The father of Hon. Seth Sprague, Phineas, is 
first mentioned in the Records as having been chosen 
constable of Duxbury, March 2d, 1747. And his 
name appears three times subsequently in the lists 
of town officers. He was moderator of a town 

* See under R. 

I I conclude that John resided for a time in Weymouth, from 
the fact that the Duxbury Records, under date of May 9ih, J777, 
take note of an agreement between Nathaniel Sprague, of Dux- 
bury, Shipwright, and John Sprague, of Weymouth, m regard 
to their respective shares of certain lands in the former town. 
This Nathaniel left two sons, Peleg and Nathaniel, — neither of 
whom is living, and ssveral daughters. The birth of Caroline 
Sprague, " daughter of Nathaniel Sprague, and Hannah, his 
wife," is registered in the Records under date of February 2d, 


meeting held February 15tli, 1747 ; was elected 
assessor March 22d, 1762, and surveyor of highways 
March 14th, 1763. He died in 1775, at the age of 
sixty-five. For twelve or fourteen years previous to 
his death, he owned the farm that was his father's, 
and which has descended to his son; and resided in 
the house, now standing upon it, which was built by 
him about the year 1763.* 

P. Page 129. 

Samuel Sprogue, the brother of PJiineas, and uncle of 
Hon. Seth Sprague, married Sarah Oldham, July 8th, 
1742 ; and they were the parents of the late Uriah Sprague 
of Duxbury. The latter was born June 1 1th, 1743, and 
died February Jst, 1842. In 1796, he married Lydia 
Sampson^ daughter of Amos Sampson, and sister of the 
late Studley Sampson. She was born April 6th, 1747, 
and died September 1st, 1842. 

Their children were ; — 

1. Eden^ born April 12th, 1770 ; married Sarah Hinck- 
ley, and is dead. He left no children. 

2. Elethea, born April 10th, 1772 ; is still living. 

3. Lydia, horn April 17th, 1776; died October 12th, 


* See under S. 


4. Lurana, born May 18th, 1780; married Weston 
Freeman, Esq., February 10th, 1802, and is still living. 

5. Joshua, born March 17th, 1783; died at sea, Feb- 
ruary 9th, 1807. 

6. Betsey, born August 28th, 1788 ; married the late 
Jacob Smith, May 26th, 1803 ; died May 11th, 1814. 

I am indebted to Samuel Stetson, Esq., of Duxbury — 
a son-in-law of Jacob Smith, above named — for this 
account of Uriah Sprague and his family. 

Of Mrs. Smith, Mr. Stetson remarks: — " It is said by 
her connections that Betsey, my wife's mother, was fair, 
amiable and generous, — a devoted and affectionate wife 
and mother." And of Lydia he speaks thus : — " Lydia, 
as you know, possessed a peculiarly happy turn of mind, 
and devoted herself with untiring energy and fidelity to 
the comfort and assistance of her aged father, until God in 
his Providence took her to himself. She had the rare talent 
of making all with whom she became acquainted her 
friends; and her hand was always as ready to give as to 
receive. I have thought that she filled up the sphere in 
which she was placed as perfectly as often falls to the lot 
of mortals." I was sufficientl}^ acquainted with the subject 
of this eulogium to appreciate its entire justness. 

Of the sisters of Samuel and Phineas, above named, 
Sarah married Samuel Alden — a descendant of John 

Alden — February 26th, 1728 ; and Beihia married 

Gushing, and afterwards Jethro Sprague, with whom she 
removed to Kennebec. 


Q. Page 129. 

An agreement between John Sprague and his brother 
AMjah, in regard to the division of certain lands, is noted 
upon the Duxbury Records under date of March 8th, 1754. 
The latter was one of the assessors of town rates or taxes 
in 1743. 

There is a tradition that these brothers kept bachelors' 
hall, at one time, in the house their father John formerly 
lived in, which stood on the side of the hill, a little to the 
northeast of the dwelling now occupied by Samuel Frazer, 
Esq. It does not appear that either of them ever married. 

R. Page 130. 

The name of Jane Delanoe, and that of Hannah Wormel 
occur frequently in the Duxbury records in connection 
with the names of John, Jethro, Peleg and Phineas Sprague ; 
who, it would seem, had a sort of prescriptive right of 
boarding at the public charge, or " keeping," as the phrase 
was, these destitute females ; — the only poor of the town, 
I conclude, at the time they are mentioned. 

In one respect, certainly, they were more fortunate than 
many whom Providence has entrusted to the public charity. 
Their names, by being entered upon the Records, have 
been preserved, and in honorable company. But most of 
those, in our day, who have no home but in an almshouse, 
find no mention in town records while living, and nothing 
to signalize even the spot of their burial when dead. It is 
a sad spectacle, in a church-yard, to see the graves of the 
poor unmarked by so much as the " frail memorial " of a 


head-Stone. Can it be that not a single fact or trait in 
regard to any slumberer beneath those sods deserves to be 
commemorated ? Not long since I counted many such 
graves in the burial-ground of Duxbury. The sight gave 
rise to melancholy reflections, which recurred to me 
forcibly, afterwards, as I was reading the following touch- 
ing lines of Holmes ; the consoling prophecy at the close 
of which will find an echo in many a heart : — 

" Yet there are graves, whose rudely shapen sod 
Bears the fresh footprints where the sexton trod ; 
Graves where the verdure has not dared to shoot. 
Where the chance wild flower has not fixed its root, 
Whose slumbering tenants, dead without a name. 
The eternal record shall at length proclaim 
Pure as the holiest in the long array 
Of hooded, mitred or tiaraed clay ! " 

But I am happy to mention one honorable exception to 
the general neglect which has attended the " slumbering 
tenants " of the poors' corner in the cemetery referred to. 
The grave of Sarah McFarland is distinguished by a 
plain head-stone of slate, on which is engraved the follow- 
ing inscription : — 



DIED MAY DAY, 1831. 

TJiis stone is in gratitude erected 

By two of her pupils , 

That her goodness respected * 

* The two pupils, who so kindly and delicately manifested 
their respect for the memory of their teacher, were the late Mrs. 


S. Page 131. 

The family mansion in Duxbury, of which two correct 
lithographic views are given in this volume, was built by 
Phineas Sprague about the year 1763. He had formerly 
occupied the house in which the late Uriah Sprague re- 
sided, and it was in this house that his first and only son 

Ezra Weston, and her brother, Captain Gershom Bradford, re- 
cently deceased. 

Sarah McFarland is well remembered by many as an eccentric 
but worthy individual, who taught school in her younger days, 
and was especially noted for her powers of extempore utterance 
in doggerel rhymes. The lines on her grave-stone are evidently 
written in imitation of the promptings of her own muse. The 
true spelling of her name is as I have given it, on the authority of 
her own signature to her will, now before me ; for the loan of 
which I am under a double obligation to Mrs. Sylvanus Smith of 
Duxbury, its owner, and to Miss A. Brown of the same place, 
who was kind enough to apply for it in my behalf. This brief 
but precious document is dated " August 24th, A. D. 1824," and 
whnessed by the late Major Judah Alden. The testator therein 
bequeaths most of her property to Mrs. Smith above named. 

" Now be it known," she says, " to all my friends and rela- 
tions, that whereas I am indebted to Mrs. Lucia Smith, the wife 
of Captain Sylvanus Smith, for making me two new gowns and 
a petticoat, and many other small garments : To compensate her 
I do give her a gold ring my deceased father gave me when 14 
years old, telling me to be careful of it and wear it in remem- 
brance of him, which I have done and intend to do as long as I 
do live ; but when I shall live no longer, it shall be gfiven to Lucia 
Smith, and my pewter dishes, too, with every ounce of pewter 


Seth was born. At the date of this event, July 4th, 1760, 
Samuel, the brother of Phineas and father of Uriah, just 
named, live on the paternal estate in an old house which 
stood northeastward from the site of the present mansion 
below where the orchard now is. But in 1761 an ex- 

that may be found in ray house. She shall also have ray feather 
bed and bolsters and pillows even every feather." 

This rude improvisairice soraetimes coraraitted her verses to 
writing, and the sarae kind friend who procured her will for ray 
inspection, has sent to me a few of thera in the raanuscript of the 
author. Some of her lines have an amusing Hudibrastic air, 
though it is not probable that she ever read the immortal poem 
of Butler. As, for example, the following, " On a mischievous 
man who sawed in two some of the timbers of a Meeting-house 
which was to be set too far from his own dwelling : " — 

" I suppose you broke your saw, 
But with it first you broke the law, 
Pray tell me what you did it for." 

So, also, the following, " On the First Factory in the Town of 

" Sirs, I like this new way of carding and spinning, — 
It is a brave thing to favor the women, 
It is a thing men ought to do, 
Were it not for the women there would be none of you." 

Other lines have an epigrammatic turn ; and, if they had been 
quoted as from certain transcendental poems of recent date, 
would have passed for genuine specimens. For instance, this 
couplet, " On the Bolting Mill in Duxbury : " — 

" Solomon was a man of wonderful skill, 
And he built a temple but never a mill." 

1 ; ly ^^ 


change of Airms and residences was made between the 
brothers, according to the conditions of which, the sole 
maintenance of their father, who was then living at a very- 
advanced age, was to devolve upon Phineas. And a year 
or two after this exchange the latter left the old house 
above referred to, for the more commodious one which is 
now standing on the estate as he built it. Few of the 
humbler class of family dwellings have come down from a 
preceding generation more precious in their associations 
than this ; though, comparatively, it may not be of great 
antiquity. It is not quite coeval with the venerable man 
who now owns it, and who has resided in it ever since it 
was erected until very recently. But within his lifetime 
there have been gathered around it more of those recollec- 
tions which hallow the domestic altar than are usually 
crowded into the same period. Here he and two sisters 
passed their earliest years under the dicipline of excellent 
parents, of whom the father, however, was called away 
before they had completed the season of youth. After- 
wards the mother — endowed with every quality that 
adorns and endears that blessed name — found here for 
many years a happy home with her children, and a kind 
support in her widowhood and old age, at the hands of her 
only son. In this house, also, were born the fifteen 
children of that son and his wife, who dwelt here together 
for more than sixty-four years ; a id of these children 
eleven daughters were married under the same roof. 


NOTE XIV. Page 19. 

Once more the vision, that we faintly saw 
Approaching slow, and then apace withdraw, 
Re-dawns upon our long awaiting sight, 
In airy vestments clad and heavenly light. 

A sketch of Hon. Seth Sprague's mother, sUghtly 
touched in some previous lines of the poem, is here 
resumed. It has been already stated, that her name 
was Mercy Chandler, and that she was the daughter 
of Nathaniel Chandler and Zeruiah Sprague — a 
descendant from Francis Sprague. Her circum- 
stances and disciphne in early life have also been 
before alluded to.^ 

Her marriage with Peleg Sprague — a descendant 
from the first William Sprague of Hingham — on the 
18th of February, 1746, is the event which I have 
referred to in the poem as the uniting of " two 
kindred stocks." It would be exceedingly interesting 
to follow these stocks — kindred as I have little 
doubt they were — to their common origin in the 
mother-country; but, unhappily, "time's effacing 
fingers " have obliterated all traces of their relation- 

* See Note YII. 


ship.* One thing, however, is quite certain ; that 
neither of these branches of the family is dishon- 
ored by the other. 

The subject of this notice was three times married. 
Her second husband was Phineas Sprague, cousin of 
Peleg, above named; of which marriage, as before 
stated,! Seth was the first and only son. Her third 
husband, to whom she was married late in life, was 
Ichabod Simmons. And it is by the appellation of 
'' Grandma Simmons " that she is best known to her 
grandchildren. One of them, Hon. Seth Sprague, Jr., 
has kindly favored me with the record of his impres- 
sions of her person and character, in language so 
graphic and interesting, that I should do him and my 
readers injustice not to quote his words at length. 

" My grandmother," he says, '' lived in my father's 
family from the time I was a small boy until her 
death — more than twenty years. She was a little 
taller than my sister, Mrs. Winsor, not quite so slen- 
der, though she was by no means of a muscular 
frame. She was a well-shaped woman, and I think 
must have been handsome when young. If regular 
features, a high forehead, an uncommonly intelligent 

* Judge Mitchell states that the Coat of Arms for the name of 
Sprague was granted to one Hugh Sprague in England three 
centuries ago. [Letter in the Genealogy of the Spragues in 

t See Note XIII. 


expression of countenance, with a dark yellow, 
withered face, could be called good looking, she was 
so in her old age. Her expression was very striking. 
Her eye was black and piercing. You would be led 
to inquire who she was, at first sight. Ever after I 
knew her she was a little rounded in the shoulders, 
and she became more so as her age advanced. Her 
dress was in the fashion of her youthful days, long, 
tight-waisted, with prominent hips and well laced 
stays. She did not at all consult the mutations of 
fashion, which changed several times while she 

" She was a remarkable woman. Though strictly 
religious, she had little of the superstition of the age 
in which she lived; putting little faith in dreams, 
visions, and supernatural appearances, though she 
did not deny that miraculous agencies were possible, 
and even probable in certain cases. She was a 
woman of strong nerves, of great resolution and per- 
severance. When others faltered, quailed and were 
terrified, she seemed doubly nerved for action, pro- 
ceeding always with a coolness that showed het 
strong mental faculties in full exercise. She never 
allowed strange or mysterious appearances to pass 
without a thorough examination. And often have I 
heard her relate the manner in which she unravelled 
many things that were thought to be supernatural. 
With her knitting work in her hands in long winter 
evenings, while we listened with deep interest, she 
would tell us stories of her experience, her adven- 


tures and escapes, and of Indian wars, and the 
difficulties of olden times. She was very free and 
social, talked fluently with a clear, distinct articu- 
lation, and her voice was strong and very pleasant. 

''Considering the times in which she lived, the 
sphere in which she moved, and the little attention 
then paid to female education, I have not known her 
equal. I do not know a woman in the common 
walks of life that possesses so much knowledge of 
the events of the present day, as she did of those of 
her day. She had no book but her Bible, of the 
contents of which she had a good knowledge. But 
her acute, vigorous mind, aided by a memory natu- 
rally retentive, was ever learning from observation. 

"From her my father's children formed their 
religious character. Her religion was of the prim- 
itive orthodox faith, not however, Calvinistic, and 
very free from bigotry and superstition. She was 
perpetually giving us words of caution and direction, 
thus showing how anxious she was that we should 
conform to the precepts of the Gospel. She was a 
woman of piety and devotion, never retiring to her 
bed until she had visited her closet and offered a 
prayer to God. Many times, in passing by her win- 
dow, when the curtain was a little aside, have I seen 
her at her devotions, which always made a strong 
impression on my mind. 

"She never interfered with the discipline of the 
family, except when my mother was absent or ill. 
She was a rigid disciplinarian, kind but firm. Her 


look was sufficient — so full was it of expression — 
to warn us of what we might expect if we dis- 
regarded her command. On such occasions her 
authority was supreme ; and we all felt that we 
were in the hands of one who knew what was right 
and proper, and would certainly enforce it. 

" Her constitution was very strong and vigorous. 
She was seldom sick. I look upon her as an un- 
common woman. Her lot was cast in the humble 
walks of life. Her husbands were farmers, who 
obtained their bread by great toil and strict economy. 
Had she been privileged in her early days to associ- 
ate with men of learning and refinement, and to 
move in circles of grace and fashion, none would 
have excelled her, and few would have been her 

I can add but little concerning this excellent 
woman from other sources. The oldest of her 
grand-daughters, now living, has assured me that 
she ever manifested a lively sympathy with all who 
were in trouble of any kind. When her neighbors 
were suffering from sickness or affliction, they found 
her at all times ready and eager to offer aid and 
consolation. And it is among the brightest of the 
reminiscences of her grandchildren, that she was 
always willing to entertain their little griefs and 
petty vexations, and that she never failed to provide 
some comfort or alleviation, whatever might be 
their distress. 

The same grand-daughter, referred to above, re- 


lates an incident which shows the great respect and 
even reverence with which 'grandma' was regarded 
by the younger portion of the family, as well as the 
calm wisdom of her character. " I remember," she 
says, "being present during a conversation between 
some gentlemen at my father's house in relation to 
an itinerant preacher of the Methodist sect, who 
had just come among us. The conversation waxed 
warm, and bitter words of denunciation were uttered 
against this new disturber of the peace, as he was 
pronounced to be. Grandma sat by in the corner 
with her knitting work, and I waited with much 
anxiety to hear what she would say about the mat- 
ter, thinking that as soon as she spoke, I should 
know who was right and who was wrong. Pre- 
sently her opinion was asked ; and she replied by 
calmly remarking that she thought as did Gamaliel 
on a similar occasion, when he said ; ' If this coun- 
sel or this work be of men, it will come to nought, 
but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it.'* From 
that moment I knew that the preacher had been 
unjustly condemned. And the rebuke was not lost 
upon his illiberal defamers, for the conversation soon 
assumed a milder tone." 

* Acts V. 38, 39. 


NOTE XV. Page 21. 

For only they may fitly chant the song, 
Who lately lost a mother loved so long. 

This mother — so honored and k)ved m Ufe, and 
so lamented in death — was the daughter of Abner 
Sampson* and Deborah Bisbee, both of whom were 
of Pilgrim descent. She was born October 8th, 1761, 
and died on the 2d of November, 1844. I shall not 
presume to speak of her here in any language of my 
own, when I have before me a tribute as just as it is 
beautiful, from the pen of her distinguished son, Hon. 
Peleg Sprague. It appeared as an obituary notice 
in the " Old Colony Memorial^^^ a few days after 
her death. 

" Died, in Duxbury, on the 2d of November, in- 
stant, Mrs. Deborah Sprague, wife of the Honorable 
Seth Spraoue, in the eighty-fourth year of her age. 

"She had lived with her husband, in the same 
house, more than sixty-four years, and was the 
mother of fifteen children, all of whom lived to 
adult age, and to have families of their own. Her 

* See under T. 


eleven daughters were all married under the same 
roof. Ten of her children survive her.* She had 
one hundred and sixty-two grand and great-grand 
children, of whom one hundred and thirty-two are 
now living. 

"She and her parents were natives of Duxbury. 
A descendant of the Pilgrims, she had all their purity 
without any of their severity. The domestic circle 
was the sphere of her pleasures and her duties. With 
these pleasures she was perfectly content, and these 
duties she performed with cheerful alacrity, untiring 
assiduity, and eminent success. 

'' She had been for more than fifty years a mem- 
ber of a Christian Church, and well did she adorn 
her profession. Hers was the religion of the heart, 
and there it had wrought its perfect work. Amid all 
the labors and perplexities of a most numerous 
household, — with cares for children at home, and 
anxieties for children abroad, — in weakness and in 
strength, — in sickness and in health, she was ever 
the same, calm, benignant, self-controlled, and dis- 
interested, — taking no thought for herself, but anx- 
iously caring for others, and putting forth all her 
strength for their benefit. 

"She bore the ills of life with more than heroic 
fortitude — with Christian firmness and resignation ; 
and, what is often still more diflicult, she bore pros- 
perity without the slightest diminution of mildness, 
patience, and humility. Never was there perceptible, 

* Two have died since the date of this Obituary. 



even to her own family, a single emotion of envy, 
resentment, or any evil passion. 

" Sincerity that never changed, truth that knew 
no veil, and native unaffected delicacy were a part 
of her being. 

" Discreetly frugal and justly generous, she gar- 
nered with care the means of liberal and benevolent 
use. Her charities were in secret. She did nothing 
for ostentation. 

" What others, often in vain, attempt to instil by 
precept, she effectually taught by example. Hers 
was not the wisdom of words, the instruction of 
the lips merely, but the pure and steady light of 
kindly affections — of a meek and quiet spirit, and 
of generous self-devotion. Ever assiduously endea- 
voring to promote the welfare of others, she demand- 
ed nothing for herself Unwilling that any one 
should be subject to inconvenience for her, she re- 
ceived those attentions and marks of affection which 
fell far short of her own, — not as her due, — but as 
acts of unclaimed beneficence. 

"She governed by the law of love. Reproof and 
correction were so tempered and mingled with ma- 
ternal affection, that her children felt the grief they 
had given her as the severest penalty of their errors. 
Ever placid and benignant, no hasty act, no harsh 
word escaped her. ' Her ways ' were ' wa^^s of 
pleasantness, and all her paths ' were ' peace.' 

''Her character was emphatically that of good- 
ness. She was a good wife, a good mother, and a 
crood woman. 


'' She is gone. But the radiance of her mild and 
quiet virtues still remains upon earth, and will never 
be wholly extinguished. It shone most directly in- 
deed upon her children, but it will be transferred 
to future ages, and her descendants to the hundredth 
generation will have cause to rise up and call her 

" For weeks before her death, she knew that re- 
covery was hopeless, and that her end was fast 
approaching. Retaining the full possession of her 
intellect, her resignation was perfect. She was 
at peace with the world, at peace with herself, and at 
peace with her God. The fulness of time had come, 
her work was done. With strong ties of affection 
upon earth, she was willing to depart. She knew 
in whom she had trusted. Her faith was certainty. 
No doubt darkened her mind ; not a cloud ob- 
scured her vision. The effulgence of Heaven was 
before her, and she there beheld a crown of glory 
and rejoicing awaiting her." 

T. Page 144. 

Abncr Sampson, it is probable, was descended from 
Henry Sampson, who married Ann Plummer, and was 
among the first settlers of Duxbury. The descendants of 
this ancestor are very numerous in the Old Colony. But 
I have been able to trace back the genealogy of Abner 
Sampson, above-named, only to the commencement of 


the last century. In the Duxbury Records I find the fol- 
lowing list of the " children of Nathaniel Sampson, and 
Keturiah, his wife ;" — 

Noah^ born Jan. 

Perez, " Oct. 

Fear, '* Nov. 

Robert, " April 

Nathaniel, " Feb. 

Keturiah, " Jan. 

Anna, " March 

Abner, " July 

Then follows a list of the *' Children o^ Alner Sampson 
and Sarah his wife : " — 

Molly, born March 22d, 1750 

Ainer, " April 10th, 1752 

And next a list of the " Children of Abner Sampson 
and Deborah his wife : " — 



















May 13th, 




March 21st, 




Oct. 8th, 




Feb. 6th, 




March 29th, 




April 15th, 




Sept. 20th, 




April 22d, 


It hence appears, that Abner Sampson was twice mar- 
ried, and that his daughter, Deborah, who became Mrs. 
fc:*prague, was the third child of the second marriage, and 
one of a family of ten children. Her sister Welthea, — 
the wife of William Freeman, Esq., of Duxbury, — who 
resembled her in character as well as in features, has but 


recently deceased.* Luna, who is unmarried, is the only 
member of this family at present surviving. 

NOTE XYI. Page 22. 

Amid that radiant throng attendant here, 
Encircling hers, six blissful forms are near. 

Five of her children had preceded in death the 
mother, whose virtues have been commemorated in 
the preceding note, and one had but recently followed 
her at the time of the family meeting. 

Deborah, wife of Ahira Wadsworth, died Oct. 28th, 1813 

Zeruiah, wife of Perez Thomas, " April 2d, 1829 

Rvih, widow of George Soule, " Mar. 25th, 1836 

William,] the second son, " Oct. 17th, 1840 

Lucy, wife of Rev. Robert Cushraan, " Nov. 9th, 1811 

Judith, wife of Hon Gershom B. Weston, " Nov. 25th, 1845 

Another daughter, who deeply participated in the 
enjoyments of the family meeting, has since been 
summoned, through a hngering sickness. — which she 
bore with Christian fortitude and resignation, — to 
join the company of the departed. 

Mercy, wife of Charles Soule, died December 17lh, 184f4 

* Mrs. Freeman died April 14th, 1847. 

f The wife of William Sprague — Patience Rogers — died 
November 18th, 1833, al the age of forty-eight. 

J There have been three other deaths among the kinsmen of 
the family since the gathering on the 4th of July last. These 
were of a peculiarly melancholy character, two daughters of 
Samuel Loring — a son-in-law of Hon. Seth Sprague — and the 
father himself, having died of malignant fevers in the same house, 
and within an interval of less than two months. 



NOTE XVII. Page 22. 

And one just welcome to the admiring train, 
Escaped in joy from more than mortal pain. 

The death of Mrs. Weston, on the 25th of Novem- 
ber, 1845, though to her relatives and friends a sore 
bereavement, was to herself a merciful release from 
protracted bodily suffering. The event called forth 
several obituary notices, of which the following, by 
an unknown hand, presents a brief, but faithful 
sketch of the many excellencies which adorned her 

" The death of this Christian and benevolent 
lady is deeply mourned by the community in whose 
midst she lived from her infancy. To all the charit- 
able and praiseworthy efforts of her friends she 
brought a willing and an able hand. Her death is 
mourned by many of the aged, and by many of those 
Avho, aside from the path of plenty or success, have 
long been accustomed to take comfort from her 
charitable visits, and strength from the cheering 
and timely word of a calm and serene soul. She 
was a faithful and devoted wife, and a careful and 
patient mother, and watchful for the happiness and 
education of a large family. She was of a benevo- 
lent and cheerful disposition, and in her benevolence, 
which was large, unostentatious. She was free 
from guile, plain-hearted, candid and truth-loving, 
of a gentle, forgiving and forbearing spirit, consider- 
ate of the feelings, and generous towards the wants 


and failings of others. She was a firm and discreet 
friend. Her lovehness and goodness were both great 
and unpretending. Her well-balanced character, it 
is to be hoped, did not fail to produce a good effect 
upon the little community in which she lived, and 
which now mourns her loss ; and upon the hearts of 
her children, who now sorrow for that greatest be- 
reavement death can make, the loss of a mother. 
She died at an age and in an hour when her life 
seemed the most dear and valuable. She was the 
child of a large and good-exampled family of Pilgrim 

Another warm tribute was paid to her memory by 
her pastor — the Rev. Josiah Moore — in an article 
published in the Christian Register of December 
20th, 1845. 

" Her illness," he says, "was long and very pain- 
ful, but she endured it with great equanimity and 
fortitude; it was rendered all the more trying from 
the fact having come to her knowledge, that, ac- 
cording to the opinion of the best physicians, she 
must certainly die before many months should 
elapse. I have known in my ministerial experience, 
but few women, called to their last change, under 
such impressive circumstances. She had every in- 
ducement to wish to live. Happy in the love and 
confidence of her husband, blessed by a numerous 
family of fond children, nearly all of whom were of 
an age to appreciate her worth, in the meridian of 
life, and possessed of the most ample means of doing 
good, she felt that now the time had come, when 


relieved in a measure from those pressing cares, 
which liad confined her much to her own household, 
she could enlarge the field of her social intercourse, 
her charities and her usefulness. But, upon the 
threshold of the practical fulfilment of these hopes 
and anticipations, she has been called to a mission 
infinitely higher than that, which she had desired 
for herself in this world. Truly ' we know not what 
a day or an hour may bring forth.' ' Man deviseth 
his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.' ' For 
her to die is gain ; ' but she has left many to mourn 
on their own account. 

" The occasion of her burial was one of great 
impressiveness. It was on the afternoon of the day 
appointed for our last annual thanksgiving, and 
during the climax of the storm which so fearfully 
raged upon the sea-board. Although we knew that 
' the spirit had returned to God who gave it, leaving 
the body to be returned to the dust,' alike insensible 
to storm and calm, yet we could but feel sad, that, 
under such circumstances, we must bear her from 
her comfortable and happy home, to the cold and 
lonely tomb. Yet there was some compensation in 
reserve for the mourners, for upon the way, the 
tempest was hushed, as if by a will saying ' Peace, 
be still;' and, as they turned sadly and despondingly 
from the grave, the bright bow of promise met their 
gaze, penciled upon the brow of the impending 
cloud. It seemed hung out as the spirit's signal, 
giving assurance that she ' was not there, for she had 


''The death of Mrs. W. has left a vacancy in our 
Uttle circle which will not soon be filled. She was 
beloved by all ; but especially endeared to the mem- 
bers of her own household. The poor found in her 
a friend, ever ready, willing and able to relieve their 
necessities. She was possessed of a thoughtful and 
discriminating mind, of an amiable and forgiving 
temper, ever disposed to promote on earth, peace, 
good-will among men; ' an Israelite indeed, in whom 
there was no guile.' As a wife, a mother, a friend 
and neighbor, she was looked up to as a pattern 
woman among us. Her example was productive of 
great good while living, and through the remem- 
brance of her virtues, ' though dead she yet speaketh.' 

"She was sustained through her long, continued 
and most distressing disease, by the consciousness 
that she ' was not alone, for her Father was with 
her ; ' by the feeling, too, that as he seems to come 
nearest in thunder, in earthquake and in tempest, so 
was he all the nearer to her in the agonizing pains 
which he saw fit to inflict upon her. If any have 
had reason to be ' made perfect through suffering,' 
such, emphatically, was her case. Her faith was a 
rational, practical, sustaining, consoling faith. She 
believed in God, in Christ, in immortality. She 
believed in the social life of the spiritual world ; that 
she should not only meet her departed relatives and 
friends, but be permitted to watch over and work for 
those she was to leave behind. It is, in a word, 
the remembrance of what she was, that makes 
her loss so impressive among us, but it is in that 


remembrance also, that the consolation of the 
mourner is found." 

One of the sons of this excellent lady — John A. 
Weston — has pubhshed, for distribution among her 
relatives and friends, an affectionate and discrimina- 
tmg memoir of his mother, addressed to his brothers 
and sisters. In one passage he speaks of her benev- 
olent disposition and her serene temper as follows : — 

"The time and care which our departed parent 
bestowed upon the destitute and needy, gave un- 
doubted evidence of her charity. The hand of 
friendship and love that she extended to all — both 
the rich and the poor, the high and the low — and 
the words of tenderness and sympathy which she 
ever spake to faint and weary souls, could not be 
mistaken for the expressions of a momentary im- 
pulse, or an excited feeling. They gave confirma- 
tion of that deep-seated benevolence in her nature, 
which always brightened her serene countenance, 
and added gentleness to her dignified manners. Pos- 
sessing such a strong desire to do good, and cultiva- 
ting so amiable a disposition, she preserved the same 
even temper at all times and in all circumstances. 
She was never known to speak in the voice of anger, 
or give any indication that she cherished other feel- 
ings than those of friendship for all. This was 
truly the noblest trait in her character; and one 
which deserves the admiration and imitation of her 
posterity through all coming time." 

In another passage her piety and her faith in the 
revelations of the Gospel are thus alluded to : - 


'^ The religious nature which our lamented parent 
displayed when well, was strongly tested during her 
sickness. But it wavered not. Like fine gold which 
fire only purifies and separates from dross, it became 
cleansed and ennobled by this new trial. The 
resignation with which she met her illness, and the 
calm and submissive spirit she exhibited in her agony 
for months, were the fruits of a holy life, and the 
rewards of a pious soul. Our parent conversed 
much on serious subjects, and took great pleasure in 
hearing others read portions of the Scripture and 
other good books. She often spoke of God and 
.lesus Christ, and said she had no fear of dying. 
When deeply afflicted, she frequently called on her 
Maker, saying ; ' O Lord, thy will be done.' On 
one occasion when a friend had carried her some 
food, she said ; ' You give me nourishment for the 
body ; but God gives me nourishment for the soul.' 
A short time before her death, when her mind was 
slightly delirious, and she was writhing under severe 
pain, she spoke of a dream, in which she saw Heaven 
and God and Christ, and millions of happy beings, 
and said she longed to go there. In her last severe 
paroxysm of pain near the close of her sickness, she 
exclaimed, 'My husband and dear children around 
me, can afford me no relief; but I am not alone, for 
my God is with me.' The character of Jesus she 
admired and loved, and on the truths which he 
brought to light she rested her salvation." 

The memoir concludes with an appropriate allu- 
sion to the peculiar circumstances of her burial. 


" The day on which we followed the remains of 
her who was so beloved and esteemed by us, to 
their final resting place, will long be remembered by 
all present on that sad occasion. Every thing ap- 
peared to sorrow for our bereavement. The weather 
itself seemed to grieve and weep. The clouds low- 
ered with a black and threatening aspect ; the wind 
blew violently and howled dreadfully ; and the rain 
poured in torrents. Slowly we moved, in the raging 
storm, towards the silent and lonely tomb. AVith 
doubled sorrow we turned from that barrier of eter- 
nity to our gloomy and deserted home. But a change 
now came over the face of nature. The dark and 
murky clouds vanished ; the rain ceased, and the 
resplendent bow beautifully arched above the clear 
blue air in the western horizon, seemed to say to 
those stricken with sadness ; ' T 'is past ; weep no 
more ; for I am an emblem of that bright and hea- 
venly portal, which has received among the millions 
of happy souls, that good and faithful one for whose 
loss you grieve.'" 

NOTE XVIII. Page 22. 

Thou waitest patient, — O, may they long delay — 
Till Angel voices summon thee away. 

In the preceding notices I have traced two separate 
streams of genealogy, until they meet in the venera- 
ble man to whom the concluding lines of the poem 
are addressed. He still lives in the possession of 


all his mental powers, and with a vigor of constitu- 
tion but slightly impaired by the touch of time. It 
is not fit, nor Avould it be consonant with his own 
feelings, that any thing should be written of him 
here in the language of eulogy; but as my humble 
work was prompted by an occasion on which he was 
the principal object of regard, and is addressed espe- 
cially to his descendants and connections, it would 
seem to be incomplete without at least a brief narra- 
tive of the most important events of his past life. 

Seth Sprague, — a descendant in both lines from 
ancestors of the same family name, — was born in 
Duxbury on the 4th of July, 1760. The years of 
his boyhood he spent chiefly in hard work upon his 
father's farm; with no opportunities of education, 
except for a short period when he attended the town 
school then under the charge of the Honorable 
George Partridge. From him he imbibed not only 
the elements of learning, but his political principles, 
taking sides with the Whigs of those days, whose 
motto was: — "Opposition to tyrants is obedience to 

The death of his father — Phineas Sprague — 
when he was fifteen years old, aifected him deeply. 
By this event the whole care of the farm devolved 
upon him; and although he was of large frame and 
great strength for one of his age, his physical pow- 
ers were severely taxed by the labor he was obliged 
to perform. 

He completed his sixteenth year on the memorable 
day of the Declaration of Independence. A short 


time previous he had enlisted for six months as a 
private soldier in the service of the country. He 
was one of a company of one hundred men, who 
were stationed at the Gurnet, where he labored hard 
with the rest in building a fort. After the expiration 
of these six months he entered the military service 
again, but for no specified term, under Captain Syl- 
vanus Drew, who had charge of a number of whale- 
boats, at Boston, and of a small schooner called the 
Lady Washington, employed as cruisers in the 

After serving about two months under Captain 
Drew. Mr. Sprague, in July, 1777, enlisted as a pri- 
vate in the continental service. He was ordered to 
Springfield to join Captain Bryant's company of ar- 
tillery, stationed at that place to guard the arsenal 
and military stores. 

At the expiration of his term, he returned home ; 
and in the summer of 1778, engaged in fishing along 
the shore between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, and 
sometimes to the eastward of the latter cape. This 
was at that time a hazardous business ; for English 

* Before Mr. Sprague was attached to this flotilla, the crew 
of the Ladi/ Washington had been engaged in a desperate battle 
with the enemy. Being chased by an English ship, they took to 
shoal water out of the reach of her guns ; but, as the sea was 
cahn, several boats well manned were despatched from the ship 
to secure the schooner as a prize. This was found to be no easy 
task. They were repulsed with the loss of a great part of their 
men, and the schooner escaped unharmed. 


ships and privateers were constantly cruising in that 
neighborhood.^^ He pursued it, however, for three 

He was married to Deborah Sampson f in March, 
1779; being then in his nineteenth year. He looks 
upon this event as the most fortunate of his life ; as 
having tended more than any other to develope those 
qualities of character, and to confirm those habits of 
sobriety and industry, to which, under Providence, 
he ascribes the prosperity of his career. 

He passed the year subsequent to his marriage in 
severe labor upon his farm. When the war was 
over, he found occupation again in fishing ; and pur- 
sued this laborious calling, on the Grand Bank, for 
about seven summers. All the little means he had 
acquired by these repeated voyages to the Bank were 
expended in the purchase from one of his sisters of 
her portion of the farm inherited from their father. 

In the year 1790, having a large and increasing 
family to provide for, and perceiving that the income 
from his farm, however industriously tilled, would 
be hardly sufficient to keep him from poverty, he 
resolved, as a probable means of advancing his for- 
tune, to engage in trade. With no previous knowl- 
edge of matters appertaining to bargain and sale, 

* One fishing vessel owned in Duxbury, and commanded by 
Capt. Lewis Drew, was taken at this period and carried lo New 
York. Her men were put on board the old Jersey, prison-ship, 
in which horrible quarters they all died except one. 

f See under T. 


without money, and without influential friends, how 
was he to take the first step in this change of em- 
ployment ? 

On the strength of his reputation for industry and 
integrity, and on pledge of his real estate, he suc- 
ceeded in hiring a small sum of money ; which he 
invested, at Boston, in West India goods, crockery, 
and an assortment of small articles. He had relied 
on the assistance of his wife in retaihng his stock at 
home ; but soon after his return, she was taken sick 
and remained an invalid for two years. 

The profits of his new business exceeded his ex- 
pectations. It was not long before he was able to 
buy goods on credit, in Boston, as extensively as he 
wished. At the hazard of incurring the ill-will of 
two or three of his fellow-townsmen, who had en- 
joyed a quite lucrative monopoly in supplying the 
fishermen of the place with stores, he determined to 
enter into competition with them. 

His early success in trade enabled him to purchase 
a small fishing schooner, which by the profits of her 
voyages more than paid for herself in four years ; 
and at the expiration of this period he sold her at a 
large advance on the first cost. This operation en- 
couraged him to extend his interest in navigation ; 
and afterwards he was in the habit of building two 
or three vessels every year and selling them, as soon 
as he had opportunity, at a considerable profit. 

His prosperity in this line, however, was chequer- 
ed by reverses. The navigating interest in those 
days was exposed to great hazards. The rates of 


insurance were so high, and poHcies so difficult to 
be had at any premium, that many merchants con- 
ducted their voyages at their own risk. Three of 
Mr. Sprague's vessels were wrecked at sea; two 
without any insurance, and the other only half in- 
sured. The wreck of another occasioned the loss of 
her entire cargo of dried fish belonging to him; and 
a similar disaster happened to a valuable cargo of 
corn which he shipped to a port in Spain. 

Mr. Sprague had been actively employed in trade 
and navigation for nearly thirty years, when a re- 
markable change came over his feelings and tastes. 
Although in perfect health both of body and mind, 
and in the possession of what was comparatively only 
a moderate competence, he had no desire for further 
gains. This occurred about twenty-five years ago, 
when he sold his vessels and goods to two of his 
sons, and withdrew from business. Since that time 
he has devoted himself anew, on his farm in Dux- 
bury, to the quiet and more grateful pursuits of hus- 

Thus far I have spoken only of his private life : 
but during the period to which I have referred, he 
was frequently called to the public service. His 
name has been more or less connected with public 
affairs in his native town and in the State, ever since 
1788. He was forty years a Justice of the peace and 
of the quorum, and a member of the Massachusetts 
Legislature twenty-seven years ; sometimes in the 
House and sometimes in the Senate. He has been 
several times chosen one of the Counsellors to the 


Governor of the Commonwealth, but always declined 
that honor. In the year 1813 he was appointed by 
the President of the United States principal assessor 
for the thirteenth District of Massachusetts — a trust 
which imposed upon him an arduous service, as he 
was obliged to make a valuation of estates through- 
out the County of Plymouth, and apportion the 
taxes thereon for three successive years, correcting 
the valuation each year. He has also been twice 
honored by being chosen a member of the electoral 
college, which determines the choice of President and 
Vice-President of the United States. 

But I should omit much that would be interesting 
to his descendants, if I did not allude more particu- 
larly to some of the incidents of his public life, as 
well as to his connection with the great moral and 
religious movements of the times. 

When Mr. Sprague first entered upon public du- 
ties, he was the youngest man in his native town 
that took an active part in its concerns, as he is now 
the oldest citizen of the place who attends the town- 
meetings. The earliest occasion on which his agen- 
cy in the affairs of the town began to be eminently 
conspicuous, occurred in the year 1798, when he 
took an especial interest in the measure of opening 
what is now the main thoroughfare of the place — • 
the road which runs near the shore of the Bay from 
Powder Point to the house of the late Captain Daniel 
Hall. Indeed he and three other influential citizens =^ 

* Ezra Weston, Joshua Winsor, and Samuel Delano. 


of the town may be said to have been the sole pro- 
jectors of this road ; for they were at first almost its 
only advocates. They employed a lawyer at their 
own expense to plead for it before the Court of Ses- 
sions ; from which tribunal authority to lay out roads 
in the several towns of the county was then derived. 
The town, in its public capacity, appeared, by 
attorney, in opposition to the measure. Neverthe- 
less it was finally sanctioned by the Court, and the 
road was laid out, and completed in the course of 
two years, according to the wishes of its friends. 
But in order fully to carry out their design, it was 
necessary to construct a bridge over Blue-fish River ; 
and those who had opposed the opening of the road, 
took the ground that as the river was navigable 
water, the Court of Sessions had no power to order 
the erection of a bridge over it. Several town-meet- 
ings were held, between the years 1800 and 1803.* 
and much animated discussion ensued in relation to 

* Town Records. The year 1801, especially, seems to have 
been a season of great excitement in Duxbury. In the midst 
of the warm discussions about the new road and bridge, another 
topic of a still more inflammatory nature came up. The report is 
still current that the dwelling-house of the Rev. Dr. Allyn was 
subjected at that time to a .series of outrages so mysterious in 
their circumstances, that even the agency of witchcraft was seri- 
riously suspected by some. Stones were heard, night after night, 
to rattle down the roof, and sometimes to strike against the win- 
dows and sides of the building, and on looking without for the 
cause, nothing appeared, though the whole neighborhood had 
turned out to watch. At other times, the house was broken open 


this subject. It was contended, furthermore, on the 
part of the opposition, that the cost of the bridge 
Avould be very great — three thousand dollars at 
least. To meet this objection, Mr. Sprague, and his 
friends above referred to, after privately agreeing to 
be joint undertakers to build a bridge and dam, ac- 
cording to a model which they had prepared, peti- 
tioned the selectmen to call another town-meeting. 
A meeting was accordingly soon after convened ; 
and when the arguments of the opposition began to 
turn, as before, upon the enormous expense of the 

and several utensils stolen therefrom, and finally, on a Sunday, 
when most of the family were absent at church, it was discov- 
ered to be on fire. At length a servant-girl in the employment of 
Dr. Allyn was suspected and brought before a court of inquiry, 
but nothing was elicited to warrant her punishment, and the mat- 
ter was finally dropped. 

I find the following entry in the Town Records in relation to 
this subject ;—" July 27th, 1801. Voted, that Major Judah 
Alden receive communications respecting the villany com- 
mitted against the Rev. Mr. Allyn, and that he prosecute 
the same ; this Town having been informed that the Dwelling- 
house of the Rev. Mr. Allyn has been repeatedly broken open 
and sundries stolen and carried away, and other outrages com- 
mitted in said house : which conduct is received by the town 
derogatory to their reputation and honor, and dangerous to the 
peace and order of society ; especially as it has been committed 
on the dwelling of their minister. Therefore Voted, that who- 
ever will detect and bring to legal conviction and punishment the 
person or persons concerned in the above audacious villany shall 
receive the sincere thanks of the town and a Reward of five hun- 
dred Dollars in money." 


proposed structure, Mr. Sprague took the opportunity 
to move that the town agree to build the bridge, 
after the model there exhibited, provided any respon- 
sible man would undertake the work for the sum of 
fifteen hundred dollars. The motion was put to vote 
without debate and carried. Thereupon one of the 
four,^ who had made the agreement alluded to, 
immediately rose and accepted, in his own name, the 
offer of the town, as expressed by the vote just 
passed. This occurred on the second Monday of 
February,, 1803.f The very next day preparations 
for building the bridge were commenced in good 
earnest by the contractor and his associates. Some 
of the most persevering in the ranks of the opposi- 
tion threatened to call still another meeting, with a 
view to have the recent vote reconsidered. But the 
undertaking proceeded so rapidly, that before this 
threat could be executed, it was quite too late to 
think of retracting. In the course of a few months 
the bridge was completed to the satisfaction of a 
Committee of the Town, J who had been chosen 
to oversee and inspect the work of its construc- 

In March of the last named year, 1803, Mr. 
Sprague was chosen Treasurer of the town ; and 

* Joshua Winsor. 
f Town Records. 

I This Committee consisted of the following persons : Samuel 
A. Frazar, Ezra Weston, and Isaiah Alden. 
^ See under U. 


thereafter he was annually re-elected to this office 
until 1S09. He was in the mean time successively 
a Representative and Senator in the Legislature of 
the State, and subsequently he occupied a seat in 
one or the other branch of that body for many years. 
His influence here was most conspicuous while he 
was a member of the Senate between the years 1810 
and 1813. At this time he was one of the leaders in 
the project of establishing a State Bank with a cap- 
ital of three millions of dollars, subject to a tax of 
one per cent, annually, to be paid into the State 
Treasury, — the same tax to be imposed on all the 
banks of the Commonwealth. This measure was 
devised and finally carried into effect, through the 
influence of a few members of the then Republican 
party, only two of whom are now living.* 

In 1813 Mr. Sprague brought forward a motion in 
the Senate, by which a committee was raised to 
consider the expediency of building a ship of war 
by the State, to be sold, when finished, to the Uni- 
ted States, and used in the prosecution of hostili- 
ties with England. He, as chairman of that com- 
mittee, would have reported, of course, in favor of 
the proposal ; urging, as it appears, the argument, 
that the construction of such a ship in the manner 
suggested, would give employment to the mechanics 
of the State, and thus be a public benefit. To meet 
the necessary expenditures, he alleged that money 

* Plon. William King and Hon. Selh Sprague. 


might be borrowed of the banks at five per cent, per 
annum, and that repayment might be made out of 
the income from the tax recently imposed upon the 
banking capital of the State. In this way, — it 
was argued by the friends of the project, — the 
people, having never received the benefit of the new 
tax, would not feel, in the least, the burden of the 
debt. It Was likewise a part of the proposal that 
the construction of the ship should not be com- 
menced until the Government of the United States 
had agreed to take her, when finished, at cost. But 
the reasoning of Mr. Sprague, and others of his 
party, was overruled by a majority of the Com- 
mittee, who made a detailed report in opposition to 
the measure. 

When this report was taken up in the Senate, it 
gave rise to a long and animated discussion, not only 
of the question in hand, but of the whole subject of 
the existing war with England. Mr. Sprague, at 
the opening of this debate, delivered a very able 
speech in defence of his proposition ; and subse- 
quently, in reply to the remarks of his opponents, he 
advocated, in a forcible and eloquent manner, the 
measures of the Administration. His speeches, 
on this occasion, were of greater length than ever 
marked any other effort of his before the Legis- 

A year later, an incident occurred in Duxbury, to 
which, in the order of time, and from its relation to 
the war just spoken of, as well as to Mr. Sprague' s 
agency in the aflairs of his own town, I must now 


The inhabitants of Duxbury had become much 
alarmed in anticipation that the enemy would come 
into their harbor, and burn their shipping, as they 
had done at Wareham and Scituate. A committee 
of safety was chosen to devise ways and means of 
defence. Mr. Sprague, as a member of this Com- 
mittee, was delegated to make application to the 
Board of War, then sitting at Boston, for cannon 
and ammmiition. With some difficulty, =^ he pro- 
cured the grant of a quantity of powder and balls, 
and two field-pieces. These with three or four 
other pieces, the expense of which was defrayed by 
a subscription on the part of the citizens, were placed 
at different points of the town where it Avas supposed 
the enemy might land. 

But notwithstanding these vigorous preparations 
for resistance in case of an attack, it was proposed 
by some members of the committee of safety, while 
the subject of making an official report of their 
doings to the town was under consideration, that 
the committee should recommend that a messenger 
be sent to the commander of the English ship of war, 
then cruising between the Capes, with the assurance 

* This Board of War was appointed by the State Government, 
hi reply to Mr. Sprague's application, General Cobb, who was 
a member of the Board, remarked that it would be idle to listen 
to it ; for, he alleged, the inhabitants of Duxbury would not 
know how to use cannon and ammunition if they had them. 
Governor Brooks, however, thought differently, and influenced 
the Board to comply with the request. 


that the inhabitants of Duxbury were incUned to 
neutrahty. Mr. Sprague protested at once, and with 
great earnestness, against the proposal as cowardl}^ 
and treasonable, as well as inconsistent with the 
measures already taken for defence, and intimated 
his purpose to withdraw from the committee if such a 
recommendation should be offered. A majority of the 
members, however, persisted, and made their report 
accordingly to the citizens legally convened in town- 
meeting. Mr. Sprague, at this stage of the proceed- 
ing, again interposed a strenuous opposition ; and 
when, finally, the motion to adopt the suggestion of 
the committee was carried in the affirmative, he 
declined to serve any longer as a member of it. He 
was not, however, entirely alone in the view he had 
taken of this matter. Before the meeting closed. 
Captain John Alden * took occasion to express his 
convictions of the impropriety of the vote just passed, 
and moved a reconsideration. His remarks so far 
influenced the assembly that the motion prevailed b}^ 
a small majority. 

However, notwithstanding this final rejection of 
the committee's proposal, it appears that a message 
of the kind suggested was in some way conveyed to 
the commander of the English ship ; as a letter of 

* Son of Col. Ichabod Alden. He is still living- in Duxbury, 
and remembers distinctly the incident alluded to ; as he himself 
assured me only a few weeks since. 



his in reply to it is still extant.^ And Mr. Sprague, 
having accidentally been made aware of this fact, at 
the time, by an inspection of the letter, and having 
learned, besides, that the commander proposed to 
send a boat into the harbor, in a few days, on a 
friendly visit, repaired forthwith to Boston and in- 
formed General Dearborn of what had taken place. 
The latter immediately sent an order to the captain 
of the fort at the Gurnet to let no boat of the enemy's 
pass that point if it was in his power to prevent it. f 
In 1820 Mr. Sprague was seized with a severe 
fever, from the effects of which he did not fully 
recover for several years. While in this enfeebled 
condition he was chosen to represent Duxbury in the 
General Court under somewhat peculiar circumstan- 

* I first received information of the existence of this letter from 
Captain Martin Waterman, of Duxbury, who stated that it was 
then in the possession of his brother, Thomas W. Herrick, Esq., 
of Brighton, and was found among the papers of their late father. 
I subsequently visited Mr. Herrick, and was kindly permitted by 
him to take a copy of the letter for publication in this volume. It 
will be found under V. 

•f A few days after this order was despatched, the enemy's 
boat appeared off the Gurnet with a white flag. The officer on 
board of her was informed by a messenger that if he had any com- 
munication to make, it must be made to the captain of the fort. 
He replied that he wished to visit Duxbury. To this the 
messenger rejoined, that if the boat proceeded any further, she 
would be fired upon. The hint was taken, and the boat returned 
to the ship. Previously to this occurrence, one of the enemy's 
barges coming within gun-shot of the fort had been fired upon 
and sunk. 


ces. The inhabitants of the northwestern portion of 
the town had petitioned the Legislature to be set off 
to Marshfield. But a decided majority of the citizens 
of Duxbury were opposed to the petition ; and the 
matter was deemed of so much moment, that all party 
distinctions were for the time forgotten in the selec- 
tion of a representative who should be sent to the 
Legislature with special reference to this question. 
The choice of the people fell unanimously upon Mr. 
Sprague, and he accepted the trust. 

But when the subject of dividing the town came 
before a Committee of the two Houses, his health was 
so feeble that he was quite unable to do justice to his 
cause in opposition to the arguments of the two 
advocates who appeared for the petitioners. The 
committee, in consequence, reported unanimously in 
their favor, and the report was accepted by the 
Senate. Flushed with his apparent triumph, one of 
the advocates alluded to took occasion, though in a 
playful mood, to utter some expressions of taunt 
towards the representative from Duxbury. The 
latter warned his antagonist not to claim the victory 
prematurely. Several days afterwards, when the 
question of concurring with the Senate came before 
the House, Mr. Sprague, whose health had greatly 
improved, was able to speak upon the subject to 
some purpose. His remarks, in fact, had so much 
weight, that the House refused to concur with the 
other branch in accepting the report of the com- 
mittee ; and it was finally determined that the 
petitioners have leave to withdraw their petition. 


Mr. Sprague again occupied a seat in the Senate 
of Massachusetts in 1823. And it was on his motion, 
in the session of this year, that that body voted to 
erase from the Journal the somewhat noted resolu- 
tion, — passed by their predecessors, several years 
previous, in relation to the last war with England, — 
to the effect that the war was begun and continued, 
on the part of the United States, without due provoT 
cation, and that it was unbecoming a moral and 
religious people to rejoice at victories obtained in 
such a cause. 

It should be stated here, lest the part which Mr. 
Sprague took in relation to the war with England 
should be misinterpreted, as indicating the opinions 
he at present entertains, that since his retirement 
from public life, his views on the subject of war 
have undergone a material change. He is now fully 
persuaded that an appeal to arms for the settlement 
of national controversies is unjustifiable and sinful, 
as being contrary to the teachings of Christ. For 
the last twenty years he has given an earnest sup- 
port to those principles and measures which tend to 
ensure the establishment and the reign of peace on 
the earth. 

During the same period he has devoted himself 
with much zeal to other moral and social reforms. 
He was an early laborer in the cause of temperance. 
He presided at the first temperance meeting ever 
held in the County of Plymouth, and at the first 
meeting of the kind ever held in Duxbury. He em- 
braced the cause when the popular feeling was 


against it, — at a time when grave deacons and even 
clergymen were reluctant to abandon the use of in- 
toxicating drinks. It is with no ordinary satisfaction, 
therefore, that he witnesses the change which has 
taken place in the sentiments of the community on 
this subject. 

With the views of the Abolitionists of the North- 
ern States he has felt, from the first, a very strong 
sympathy, and has always manifested a lively in- 
terest in their proceedings. He has taken a leading 
part in several of their associations; having been 
President of the Plymouth County and of the Dux- 
bury Societies, and Vice-President and Manager re- 
spectively of the Massachusetts and American Anti- 
slavery Societies. He continues to be a zealous 
advocate of their principles, to note their doings and 
to attend their principal meetings. 

At the age of thirty Mr. Sprague made a public 
profession of religion by uniting himself with the 
Unitarian Church in Duxbury, then under the pas- 
toral charge of the late Rev. Dr. John Allyn ; and 
he continued to worship with that society many 
years. Circumstances, however, at length occurred, 
which induced him to dissolve this connection ; and 
when, about twenty-five years since, the Methodists 
began to have preaching in the town, he attended 
their meetings and soon embraced their principles ; 
though, at first, in common with many others, he 
had looked upon them with some measure of dis- 
trust. To him they were indebted for their first 
house of worship ; and when this proved too small 


to accommodate their increasing numbers, he assisted 
them in providing a larger and better house by a gift 
of land on which to erect it, and by a hberal contri- 
bution towards the expense of the structure. Here 
he had the satisfaction of being for twenty years a 
constant attendant at religious services, with a large 
congregation of worshippers, who looked up to him 
as their benefactor, and spoke of him under the en- 
dearing title of ' father.' 

Five years ago, however, being convinced that 
the Methodist Church in its Episcopal organization 
was arbitrary and anti-republican in its spirit, and 
that it was furthermore exerting its vast influence in 
favor of Southern slavery, he deemed it his duty to 
withdraw altogether from its government. And 
being joined in this step by many other members of 
the Episcopal society of Duxbury, the secession 
led to the organization of an independent church, 
and the erection of another house for its accommo- 

But his own motives for seceding will be more 
fully explained by the following letter, which he 

" To the Minister and Members of the 

Methodist Episcopal Church in Duxbury. 

" Beloved Brethren, — After much deliberation and 
prayer, I now feel it to be my duty to ask a dismis- 
sion from the Methodist Episcopal Church. I had 
entertained hopes that the society in this place would 
have thrown off Episcopal government, and become 
an independent Church, acknowledging no head but 


Christ. In that I am disappointed, and I now feel 
it to be my doty to ask a dismission from all connec- 
tion with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In doing 
this, it is but reasonable that I should explain my 
motives both for joining the church and for leaving 
it. Permit me, then, to say, that the principal rea- 
son for my joining the Methodist Episcopal Church 
was ; that I thought — and do now so think — that 
the doctrine taught by John Wesley and his follow- 
ers was the true doctrine of the Gospel of Christ. 
I also thought that the Methodist societies were Anti- 
slavery and Temperance societies. I had read some 
of the writings of John Wesley, and particularly 
noticed his denunciation of slavery. He called it 
the worst of villanies. I had read the ' Discipline of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church,' but I confess that 
1 had not read it with that attention which I ought 
to have bestowed upon it. I have since, however, 
read it with more attention, and am now convinced 
that it is anti-republican and extremely arbitrary, 
and such as no Christian ought to submit to. At 
the time when I joined this Church — about twenty 
years smce — the Bishops and General Conference 
had in no instance, to my knowledge, used their in- 
fluence for the continuance of slavery, or any other 
sin in or out of the church. But they were then 
trying to spread Scripture holiness through the land. 
By degrees the sin of slavery crept into the church ; 
and when an attempt was made by a few of its 
members to expel that enormous sin, all the official 
influence of the Church was arrayed against them j 


and for eight years last past it has been persecuting 
AboUtionists and trying to defend slavery. The An- 
nual Conference in the slaveholding States has passed 
resolutions declarnig that slavery, as it existed in the 
United States, was not a moral evil. I consider the 
Methodist Episcopal Church as one great prop in 
support of slavery ; and that, so long as I remain a 
member of that Church, I am virtually giving my 
influence in support of slavery. I am sensible that 
my influence in society is very small ; but small as 
it is, it ought to be exerted in favor of humanity. I 
am aware that I have but a short time to live ; but 
if I have only one day of life remaining, I wish, on 
that day, to be found in the way of my duty. 

"I have not made up my mind hastily on this 
important subject. I know that I shall soon ex- 
change worlds, and I expect to stand before the 
judgment-seat of Christ to be judged for the deeds 
done in the body. If I do not here, whilst in the 
body, bear testimony against all sin, I shall be con- 
demned by my Judge ; but if I am faithful to avoid 
sin myself, and bear testimony against it in others, I 
expect to hear that blessed sentence, ' Come ye 
blessed of my Father, enter the kingdom prepared 
for you.' Be assured that my prayer is, and ever 
shall be, that the blessing of God may at all times 
attend you, and I ask your prayers for me that God 
would, of his infinite mercy, expel all error from 
my head and wickedness from my heart ; and that 
you and I may be so unspeakably happy as to meet 
in Heaven, and join the Church triumphant in glory. 


where we shall be for ever perfect in judgment and 
holy in disposition." 

A large majority of the society were disposed to 
adopt the views expressed in this letter; but a few 
adhered to the Episcopal system, and were not 
willing to relinquish the right, which they legally 
had to retain the meeting-house for their own use.* 
At this juncture, finding it impossible to make any 
arrangement to which this minority would accede, 
Mr. Sprague, to avoid all contention, determined to 
provide another house, at his own expense, for the 
accommodation of those who coincided with him in 
his preference of an independent church. In the 
mean time, the seceders had formed a separate organ- 
ization under the title of the "Wesleyan Church," 
and while the new structure was in progress, they 
held their meetings in one of the public school- 

The two societies now worship in different tem- 
ples ; but their separation does not seem to have 
permanently disturbed the friendly relations which 
formerly subsisted between their respective members. 
And they all entertain, as before, the highest respect 
for the venerable subject of this notice, as their 
friend, benefactor, and Christian brother.f 

* When the vote was taken upon the question, whether the 
society would adopt an independent organization, only four meni- 
bers voted ia the negative. 

f The following Resolution expresses the feelings entertained 
towards him by those members of the original society who did 


Full of years and of honors he enjoys, indeed, the 
regard of all who know hnn. His declining days, 
thus far, have been as happy as his youth and man- 
hood were prosperous. His past life, in many re- 
spects, has been singularly blessed. From the age 
of nineteen, and for more than sixty-four years, he 
had the happiness to live in the society of a wife who 
was in every sense a help-mate — a prudent guar- 
dian of his household, a wise counsellor, a kind 
and faithful friend. And her loss, a few years since, 
though grievous, has been mercifully compensated 
to him by the sweet savor of her memory, and the 
sure conviction of her blissful existence in a better 
world. Of the fifteen children,* who were vouch- 
safed of Heaven as the crown of their wedded life, 
not one died in infancy, all passed honorably through 
the temptations of youth, all were happily married, 
and eight now survive. Of four sons, three are 

not agree with him in his views of the Episcopal form of Church 
government : — 

" At a meeting of the official members of the M. E. Church in 
Duxbury, held on the 3d of October, 1842, it was unanimously 
Resolved, that the judicious advice, the accommodating spirit, and 
the Cliristian deportment of our father in the gospel, Seth 
Sprague, senior, during his connection with this Board, have been 
such as to secure to him our profoundest respect and warmest 
affection ; and the resignation of his station among us is received 
with deep regret. 

" Signed by preacher in charge, Wm. T. Harlow, 

and Secretary of meeting, Wm. Bradford." 

* See under W. 


living, each of whom has been honored with high 
station, and one now graces a lofty position under 
the Government of the United States. Such a hus- 
band and such a father must needs have many 
sources of comfort in the evening of life. Happy, 
indeed, must he be, if, as in the case of our Patriarch, 
the gratitude, prompted by the enjoyment of such 
favors, is mingled with a faith, clear as vision, in an 
immortal life, and the reunion of friends beyond the 

U. Page 165. 

The work of constructing the bridge over Blue-fish 
River, in Duxbury, was begun in April, 1803, and finished 
on the 3d of July following. On the afternoon of that 
day, Mr. Sprague, accompanied by his wife, had the satis- 
faction to be the first to cross the bridge in a carriage. 
Over its centre a temporary arch had been raised, on 
which a spread eagle of wood was fixed, with the follow- 
ing motto attached, — taken from Jefferson's inaugural 
address: — "Peace, Friendship, and Commerce with all 
Nations ; entangling Alliances with none." 

The next day, being the fourth of July, the citizens of 
Duxbury celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of 
Independence. On which occasion two military compa- 
nies, under the command of Captains Dingley and Alden,* 
escorted a large party of ladies and gentlemen to the 
bridge, on each side of which the soldiers formed a col- 

* John Alden, son of Col. Ichabod Alden, before mentioned. 


umn while the procession passed between. After pro- 
ceeding a short distance, the order of march was reversed, 
and the party repaired to the hill, on the south of the 
river ; where a bountiful entertainment had been pro- 
vided, chiefly by those who had favored the project of 
erecting the bridge. Mr. Sprague presided at the table. 
The day was pleasant ; and never, perhaps, have the citi- 
zens of Duxbury met together with so much hilarity and 
good feeling as distinguished this occasion. Notwithstand- 
ing the project had been so bitterly opposed, almost all 
seemed pleased when it was finally accomplished. The 
contractors were losers, to some small extent, by their un- 
dertaking ; but the ultimate cost of the work to the town 
was only four hundred dollars, the mill privilege, created 
by the dam, having been disposed of for eleven hun- 

There is extant in manuscript an amusing account of 
some of the incidents connected with the erection of this 
bridge, written soon after their occurrence, and generally 
ascribed to Dr. Rufus Hathaway.* It is excellent in its 
way, and certainly worthy of a more durable form in print. 
And as there is little danger that the personal allusions in 
it will offend any one at this late day, — if, indeed, they 
could ever have had such an effect, — I am glad of an op- 
portunity to give it an equal chance of perpetuity with the 
other contents of this volume ; especially as it may serve 
to confirm, in part, my own statements. I shall leave, 
however, the explanation of its personal and local refer- 
ences to the same commentator that has hitherto elucidated 

* The authorship of the account alhided to has also been 
attributed to the late Major Judah Alden. 


the document ; namely, the tradition of the elders. I will 
premise, further, that I have omitted one short paragraph, 
which seems to mar the unity of the subject by irrelevant 
matters ; and have, moreover, taken the liberty to divide 
the text into verses, with numerals prefixed; — a proceed- 
ing for which those familiar with the history of the orig- 
inal Scriptures will acknowledge that I have good au- 

" 1. And it came to pass in the days of C3esar,the King, 
that he commanded his servant Joshua, saying, get thee up 
a journey into the land of the Hanoverites, to Benjamin, 
the Scribe. 

" 2. And say unto him, I, Csesar, the King, have sent 
forth my decree, and commanded that the people in the 
land of Sodom shall no longer be separated from the Wes- 
tonites, the Drewites, and the Cushmanites, that dwell on 
the north side of the great river Blue-fish. 

" 3. And also command Benjamin, the Scribe, that he 
forthwith make out a petition and convey it to the Judges 
and Magistrates of our land, commanding them that they 
straightway direct the Sodomites, the Westonites, and all 
the other Ites, within our borders, to build a bridge over 
the great River Blue-fish. 

" 4. So the Judges and Magistrates, fearing Csesar, the 
King, and Joshua, his servant, commanded that the bridge 
be built according to Cresar's decree. 

" 5. But it came to pass that there arose up certain of 
the tribes of Judah and Levi and of Samuel, and of the 
Chandlerites, and others most learned in the law, and 
showed unto the Judges and Magistrates that Caesar, the 
King, had done wickedly, in commanding what was un- 


lawful to be done, and so by the voice of the multitude 
the decree was set aside. 

" 6. And it came to pass that Ccesar and the Sodomites 
wrought up the minds of the people, and cast such delu- 
sions before their eyes that they had fear before Caesar, 
the King, and at length resolved to build the bridge, and 
connect Cnesar's dominions to the land of Sodom. 

" 7. And now behold Caesar, the King, has erected an 
arch fifty cubits high, on that bridge, which the people, in 
their folly, have built, — and set up an image over on the 
top of the arch, and commanded all the people from the 
land of Sodom on the south, the Westonites, and all the 
other tribes in the North to assemble on the fourth day of 
the seventh month, and bow their heads to the image 
which the King has set up. 

" 8, And behold the people assembled according to the 
King's decree, and did as he had commanded." 

V. Page 170. 

The following letter, referred to in Note XVIII., was 
evidently written in reply to some intimations, on the part 
of the authorities of Duxbury, that the inhabitants of the 
place were disposed to neutrality. 

" His Britannic Majesty's Ship Leander, 
10th August, 1814. 
" To the Selectmen and the Committee of Safety 
of the Town of Duxbury. 
" I am to acknowledge your letter of the 9th inst. I 
can easily understand the motives which have induced 



your addressing me, and niuch as I deplore this war, 
and deeply as I feel for the distresses of innocent indi- 
viduals, a sense of public duty will always compel me to 
follow up the utmost extent of my instructions. But in 
the belief that your town has neither the means or [nor 
the ?] intention of carrying on offensive war, I shall as 
far as lays [lies ?] in my power endeavor to respect it 
accordingly. The schooner* you require shall therefore 
be returned as soon as opportunity permits, and that [as 
soon as ?] I have obtained the sanction of Captain Rag- 
get, which 1 shall urge by every honest means in my 
power. But I must again remark in addition to the obser- 
vations contained in the letter to the magistrates of Ply- 
mouth, which you allude to, that nothing but neutrality 
the most perfect t will induce me , either to respect your 
fishing craft, or the town itself. It is not in the character 
of Englishmen to act harshly towards the unoffending,— 
thoucrh in a state of war, — unless provoked to a system 
of retaliation. And thus far (though not authorized) I 
am sure I only speak the sentiments of my superior offi- 
cers. Be therefore tranquil ! carry on war only to defend 
your own homes, and do not permit your fishermen to 
assist directly or indirectly, — as any deviation will be 
marked some day or other ! 

" The fishermen who took possession of the Rover did 
wrong ; but not more so than those who towed in the 
barge sunk off the battery near Plymouth. Had they left 
her to her fate, no mischief would have perhaps ever 

* Reference is probably made to the schooner "Despatch," 
of the circumstances of whose capture I shall have occasion to 
speak in the sequel. 

f These words are emphasized in the manuscript. 


threatened fishermen of Plymouth : but, as it is, until 
that barge is returned, it must be supposed that the fisher- 
men of Plymouth are authorized by their government to 
intrigue in war. 

'• I have the honor to be. Gentlemen, 
" Your most Obedient Servant, 

" George R. Collier, 
" Captain of H. B. M. S. Leander" 

" P. S. As there are some American armed boats 
disguised as fishermen^ it is necessary that every fishing 
boat should be examined, and unless they bring to when 
fired at, they will be punished accordingly." 

In the year 1814 there were two of the enemy's frigates 
ofi" the coast of Massachusetts, the " Leander," Captai?> 
Collier — author of the above letter — and the " Lahogue,"^ 
captain Ragget ; besides the flag-ship " Spencer." Their 
presence was a source of great annoyance to the fishing 
schooners, and other small craft, which plied their trades in 
Massachusetts Bay. Barges, or captured vessels used as 
such, sent out from these ships, were constantly on the look- 
out for prizes. Among the craft most exposed to capture 
were small open boats, employed in conveying articles of 
merchandise along the shore ; especially flour, which had 
been sent from New York, and transported across the 
Isthmus of Cape Cod, on its way to Boston market. 

The fishermen of Duxbury were doomed to feel this 
grievance severely. Several of their vessels fell into the 
hands of the enemy, and the crews of some of them suf- 
fered detention as prisoners. This was the case with the 
schooner " Cherub," owned by Joshua Winsor, and 
manned by John Winsor, George Winsor (son of Joshua), 
and James Chandler, who had a brief experience of the 


fate of captives on board of the " Lahogue." Another 
instance was that of the schooner " Ospra," belonging to 
Ahira Wadsworth, and taken by the " Leander ; " on board 
of which frigate the captured crew — Stephen Churchill, 
James Woodward, and a small boy — were compelled to 
make a similar temporary trial of involuntary exile. 

The crew of another schooner, the " Despatch," seized 
by the enemy about the same time, were more fortunate. 
This vessel was owned by Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., Elipha- 
let Waterman, and David Turner. On or about the 15th 
of July, 1814, she sailed from the wharf in Duxbury on a 
fishing excursion, and, just after sunset, on the following 
day, was captured by the prize sloop " Rover " from the 
"* Lahogue," and a barge from the "Leander," sailing 
n company. The crew of the schoianer, consisting of 
Samuel Hunt, Noah Simmons, Joseph Prior, and George 
Winsor (son of James), were transferred to the " Rover," 

— the crew of the latter taking charge of the " Despatch," 

— and ordered to follow their captors to the " Lahogue." 
The direction was complied with, at first, but as night was 
fast approaching, every effort was made to impede the 
progress of the sloop by drags, and as soon as darkness 
prevented observation, she was put about for the Gurnet, 
and shortly reached in safety the harbor of Duxbury ; 
whither her rightful owner came, not long afterwards, and 
took her again into his possession.* 

The " Despatch " herself was finally rescued by a se- 
ries of cunning devices on the part of a single individual. 

* The " Rover " was owned in New Bedford, and had been in 
the service of the enemy, as a cruiser for prizes, some time pre- 
vious to her rescue in the manner related. This incident explams 
Captain CoUier's allusion to the " Rover " in his letter. 



Afier her capture she was fitted out as one of the enemy's 
cruisers, carrying a brass swivel forward, and two small 
cannon amidships, and having a crew of twenty-one men, 
including officers and pilot. The latter was a Captain 
Mayo, of Eastham, a prisoner, who had been taken in a 
small boat on his way to Boston, with articles of provision 
for the market. He was large and athletic in his person, 
and a man of remarkable courage. The schooner had 
been thus employed, plying between the Capes, two or 
three weeks, when, in consequence of a strong wind from 
the north, and appearances of a coming storm. Captain 
Mayo was ordered to make a harbor near Manomet. On 
the way thither, it was suggested by some one that the 
schooner would sail faster if she were somewhat lightened ; 
and while the crew were throwing overboard a portion of 
the ballast for this purpose, Mayo hinted that it would be 
well to remove enough of it to make room for comfortable 
sleeping quarters. When the vessel had been thus re- 
lieved of a good part of her ballast, it was found, as the 
pilot had expected, that she would not bear a sufficient 
press of canvass to reach the proposed harbor. The 
thought now flashed upon the minds of the officers that 
aMayo was contriving to get the schooner ashore, and 
thus effect his escape. It is obvious that this was in fact 
his design ; and he had the more confidence of success, 
as subsequently appeared, from the fact that most of those 
on board were in a state of intoxication. Nor did the 
threats and big oaths, with which his suspicious behavior 
was assailed, deter him from persisting in his object ; for 
when, a moment after, he was ordered to cast anchor 
upon the spot, he took occasion, while letting the anchor 
go, and just as the cook had called all hands below for 


dinner, to cut the cable nearly off with his knife. This 
done, he followed the rest to their repast. In a few mo- 
ments the schooner was observed to be rolling and tossing 
about at a fearful rate, and some of the crew, rushing on 
deck, cried out, " She's adrift ! " " She's adrift ! " Mayo 
pretended to be greatly surprised and alarmed, exclaiming, 
" pay out ! " *' pay out ! " But it proved all in vain to 
pay out, for the anchor itself was gone. He then made 
haste to haul in the cable, taking care to rub the end of it 
so that no mark of the knife might appear. As there 
was no other anchor on board, nothing now, in fact, was 
left but to run ashore ; and as no one else was sufficiently 
acquainted with the coast, it was left with Mayo to choose 
the safest spot. This he saw fit to select on Eastham 
flats, about three-fourths of a mile from his own door. 
After the vessel was aground, and the tide had ebbed to four 
feet alongside. Mayo jumped overboard, and was moving 
backwards towards the shore — his companions all the 
while threatening to shoot him if he did not return — 
when he espied the tavern-sign of a Mr. Grossman swing- 
ing briskly in the wind, and pointing to it he represented 
to the crew that it was a signal for the citizens of the place 
to muster, and advised them to throw over their arms and 
munitions in token of surrender. By this time, having 
nearly gained the beach, he turned and ran. Proceeding 
into the village of Eastham, he was soon joined by an 
armed force of about forty men, with whom he boldly re- 
traced his steps, to take formal possession of the vessel and 
prisoners. The latter, it was found, had disposed of their 
weapons in accordance with Mayo's suggestion. 

The selectmen of Eastham, fearing an attack upon the 
place in retaliation for this seizure, thought it expedient to 


release the prisoners, and accordingly despatched two 
whaleboats to convey them to the flag-ship of the enemy. 
These boats soon returned with a requisition, from the 
officer of that ship, upon the towns of Orleans, Brewster, 
and Chatham, to contribute three thousand dollars, by way 
of exemption from further vengeance, besides giving 
up all the arms and other captured property except the 

Soon after the news of this vessel's rescue reached 
Duxbury, two of her owners, Messrs. Waterman and Tur- 
ner, and two other persons. Captains Martin and Isaac 
Winsor, repaired to Eastham for the purpose of bringing 
her home. With the assistance of Captain Mayo, by 
whose adroitness the schooner had been recovered from 
the enemy, they very soon got her off the flats, and then 
proceeded with her to Barnstable, in order to adjust the 
preliminaries of her final release with the custom-house 
officer of that place, who claimed the vessel as the proper- 
ty of the United States. They were required by him to 
give a bond for the payment of all expenses, and Mr. 
Waterman, Mr. Turner, and Captain Mayo affixed their 
names to the instrument. The latter took passage in the 
schooner to Duxbury; and, on the way, he agreed to 
assume all the responsibility of the bond for the sum of 
fifty dollars. The offer was readily acceded to by the 
other parties ; but the bargain proved a dear one to Cap- 
tain Mayo, for a suit was afterwards brought by the rev- 
enue officer, referred to, which resulted in an expense to 
the former of about eight times this amount.* 

*For the facts of the narrative thus far, in regard to the seizure 
of vessels belonging to Duxbury, I am indebted to Captain 


One other instance, in illustration of the vexations to 
which the fishermen of Duxbury were subjected, in the 
time of the war, remains to be mentioned. In the autumn 
of the same year, during which the events already related 
took place, a small sloop, named the " Little Jane," and 
' owned by Perez H. Sampson, James Soule and Richard 
Soule, was sailing in the bay with a pleasure party of some 
twenty persons, when a force of the enemy suddenly 
appeared in a barge and gave chase. The pursuit at 
length became so close that those on board of the sloop, not 
liking the prospect of being made prisoners, determined to 
push for the shore at the nearest suitable point. They 
accordingly drove the vessel aground upon Plymouth 
Flats, between Eel River and Beach Point, and, taking to 
the water, made good their escape. The crew of the 
barge continued their course to the sloop, and used every 
effort to get her afloat ; until, on perceiving the shore all 
along between Manomet and Plymouth village thronged 
with men hastening to the spot, they deemed it prudent to 
retreat. The vessel was finally restored to her owners ; 
but they were first obliged to satisfy a claim for salvage on 
the part of those citizens of Plymouth who had effected 
her rescue. 

Captain Collier, in the postscript of his letter, speaks of 
" some American armed boats disguised as fishermen." 
Whether any of the fishing vessels of Duxbury or Ply- 

Charles F. Winsor of that place, who did me the favor to take 
down in writing the reports of several of those persons whose 
names have been mentioned as owners or navigators of the vessels 
taken, and most of whom were eye-witnesses of what occurred 
on the occasions of their capture. 


mouth were thus armed, while in the hands of their 
owners, does not elsewhere appear. But it was notoriously 
a common practice with the enemy, whenever any of 
these vessels fell into their hands, to convert them immedi- 
ately into cruisers, under the show of being engaged in 
their usual business of fishing, or transporting merchan- 
dise along the coast. The " Despatch," for example, 
soon after her capture, was disguised by them as a coaster 
laden with furniture ; and there are persons in Duxbury 
who remember to have seen her pfF the Gurnet with 
chairs hanging over her quarters. The " Rover," appear- 
ed in the same dress at the time the " Despatch " was 
taken ; and the object of exchanging the crews of these 
vessels on that occasion was, to make a cruiser of the 
latter, which might not be so easily recognized in her 
true character as the " Rover ; " for this sloop had been 
long enough in the service of the enemy to be well known 
as one of their prizes. So that probably her rescue, in the 
manner I have stated, was not a matter of great regret 
with them, inasmuch as her place had been supplied by a 
new vessel whose disguises, for a while at least, would be 
less readily detected. 




. Page 178. 

The names of Hon. 

Seth Sprague's children, and the 

dates of their birth are as follow : — 



November 2d, 




December 28th, 




August I9th, 




June 2d, 




December 4th, 




November 21st, 




December 25th, 




September 5th, 




April 27th, 




October 6th, 




September 26th, 




April 25th, 




April 23d, 




April 2d, 




September 20th,